Antigay televangelist Pat Robertson has reiterated a statement made on-air that received much outrage earlier this week when he said HIV and AIDS activists were deliberately trying to infect other people with the virus.
Robertson was addressing a viewer of The 700 Club who asked whether she should leave her church after unknowingly transporting an elderly man who had AIDS as part of her volunteer work. Robertson said the risk of transmission was low in the situation, so she should not feel the need to leave her church.
Then Robertson said gay men in cities such as San Francisco would deliberately infect others with HIV by wearing rings that cut other people when they shook hands.
"Really, it's vicious stuff, which would be the equivalent of murder," he said in a video initially acquired by Right Wing Watch.
After that statement sparked outrage, Robertson reiterated his words with a statement released Tuesday.
"In my own experience," he said in a statement to The Atlantic, "our organization sponsored a meeting years ago in San Francisco where trained security officers warned me about shaking hands because, in those days, certain AIDS-infected activists were deliberately trying to infect people like me by virtue of rings which would cut fingers and transfer blood. I regret that my remarks had been misunderstood, but this often happens because people do not listen to the context of remarks which are being said. In no [way] were my remarks meant as an indictment of the homosexual community or, for that fact, to those infected with this dreadful disease."
The original statement has since been cut from the Christian Broadcasting Network's online version of the episode, according to The Atlantic.