Pat Robertson Loses “AIDS Ring” Video Battle; Video Deemed Fair Use

Pat Robertson Loses "AIDS Ring" Video Battle; Video Deemed Fair Use

Toward the end of last month Pat Robertson made one of the most egregious (and false) claims in the history of Pat Robertson egregious (and false) statements: that gay men in San Francisco use special “AIDS rings” to infect people with HIV when shaking hands. “You know what they do in San Francisco, some in the gay community there they want to get people so if they got the stuff they’ll have a ring, you shake hands, and the ring’s got a little thing where you cut your finger,” Robertson said. 

That portion of his broadcast was quickly edited out of prior to being posted on CBN’s website – but not before Right Wing Watch (and many other outlets) obtained a copy of the video and posted it. Predictably, CBN filed multiple copyright violations notices with every video service that carried the short clip in an attempt to bury the story. And (as most people know in the age of the Internet) as expected, the attempt to cover up the video only made people want to see it more. Consequently, the push to bury the video made the incident even more infamous.
Fast forward to today. Right Wing Watch just announced that they’ve won the case against CBN and have been given the green light to keep the video posted on their YouTube account since it indeed counts as “fair use” under copyright law:

Two weeks ago, the Christian Broadcasting Network tried to cover up remarks made by Pat Robertson, the founder of CBN and host of its flagship show the 700 Club, about how he believes gay men wear special rings that cut the hands of people they meet in order to infect them with HIV/AIDS. 

CBN not only had the video we posted of Robertson’s comments removed from YouTube by complaining that it violated copyright laws, but also edited the comments out of its own broadcast of the show. We reposted our video elsewhere, but CBN also had it removed from websites such as Vimeo and Dailymotion. 

We filed a counterclaim with YouTube asserting that our video was protected by Fair Use and yesterday we finally received word that our video had been restored. But the episode reveals the lengths CBN will go to hide and censor the statements made by its own leader. Now, the network is even considering legal action against a documentary critical of Robertson.  

The video is embedded below in case you missed it the first time around. 

Tim Peacock is the Managing Editor and founder of Peacock Panache and has worked as a civil rights advocate for over twenty years. During that time he’s worn several hats including leading on campus LGBT advocacy in the University of Missouri campus system, interning with the Colorado Civil Rights Division, and volunteering at advocacy organizations. You can learn more about him at his personal website.


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