Robertson Bank Fiasco: A Warning to GOP

Log Cabin Republicans to GOP, Business Community: "When You Get Into Bed with the Far Right, They Will Take You Down"

June 5, 1999 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Tumblr

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Official word that the Bank of Scotland has pulled out of a multi-million dollar venture with a financial corporation run by Christian Coalition chairman Pat Robertson has sent a chill through the anti-gay movement in the United States. The deal collapse, following a three month long media campaign to expose Robertson's extremist views led by Log Cabin Republicans in the United States and Equality Scotland in Great Britain, was front page news in the world financial press today, and immediately fueled speculation that major business dealings with U.S. far right political activists will dry up for the forseeable future.

The Robertson fiasco may end up costing the Bank of Scotland up to 10 million, plus what the British press is calling the worst public relations disaster in the institution's history.

"Every part of this disaster leads back to one central point – when you get into bed with the far right, they will take you down," said Kevin Ivers, director of public affairs for Log Cabin Republicans. "Whether it is in business dealings or political alliances, you cannot separate out the far right political and social agenda of people like Pat Robertson from the sources of money and power they use to further it."

"Business and political leaders should heed the lessons in this story," Ivers said. "They should take a giant step backwards from Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson and the rest of the far right, unless they want to be treated the way Robertson treated the Bank of Scotland. They are unreliable, unrepentant in their bizarre views and will always end up a severe liability."

When the media campaign began shortly after the Bank of Scotland deal was announced in March, the Bank faced immediate turmoil. A boycott organized quickly in Great Britain, and the Bank's stocks began to fall on the London FTSE. But the Bank defended the deal and withstood howls of criticism from religious, political and community leaders in Scotland. Despite the public outcry against his ailing business partners, Robertson produced a special report on his "700 Club" television program, which aired May 18 – months after the controversy began – claiming that European attitudes of tolerance had encouraged homosexuality, particularly "in Scotland, where you can't believe how strong the homosexuals are." Robertson painted a picture of Scotland as a nation in decline which "could go right back to the darkness very easily." The deal was almost immediately called off by Bank officials, who said today in a brief statement that they and Robertson "agreed that the changed external circumstances made the proposed joint venture between Robertson Financial Services (RFS) and Bank of Scotland unfeasible."

"In a political context, this same scenario is likely to play out in the 2000 elections if the Republican presidential nominee gives Pat Robertson a platform," Ivers said. "We hope the candidates and the party leaders understand the danger here, and have learned a lesson from this whole unfortunate episode."