Pat Robertson Bank Deal Unraveling

BoS Chief Exec Flies Urgently to U.S. For "Showdown" After Robertson Defames Scotland on "700 Club" Television Show; Financially Struggling Christian Coalition Undergoes Another Major Shake-Up

June 3, 1999 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Tumblr

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The far-right political empire of televangelist Pat Robertson is facing a stunning blow as, under pressure from an international campaign by Equality Scotland, a Scottish gay rights organization, and Log Cabin Republicans, a U.S.-based gay organization, a lucrative multi-million dollar deal with the Bank of Scotland is reportedly unraveling as a result of his own words.

"We have been working with Equality Scotland for months to inform the public and the Bank of Scotland about who this man really is, but hand it to Pat Robertson to finish the job for us," said Kevin Ivers, director of public affairs for Log Cabin Republicans. "It's another classic example of giving someone enough rope to hang himself, and Pat Robertson always has the last word on his extreme political views."

Since March 8, shortly after a multi-million dollar investment by the Bank in a Robertson bank venture in the United States was announced, Equality Scotland and Log Cabin Republicans have conducted an international media campaign to inform the Bank of Scotland and the Scottish and American public that the venture would be financing Robertson's anti-gay political agenda in the United Staes. The effort spurred a boycott of the Bank of Scotland in Great Britain.

But bank officials stood by Robertson for months as millions of pounds and over 500 corporate and personal accounts were cancelled. But when Equality Scotland and Log Cabin Republicans spread word that a May 18 broadcast of Robertson's "700 Club" television program attacked the moral character of Scotland, with Robertson calling Scotland a "rather dark land," the deal began to unravel quickly. The Edinburgh Scotsman reported today that Peter Burt, Bank of Scotland chief executive officer, flew urgently to the United States to meet with Robertson tomorrow for what the paper called a "showdown."

On the "700 Club" broadcast, Robertson said 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".

After the publicizing of Robertson's television remarks, Bank of Scotland shares fell 4% on the London FTSE yesterday. Political leaders in the Scottish National Parliament jumped into the issue immediately. Several SNP members announced work on a measure to close Parliament's 55 million account with Bank of Scotland, while the leaders of the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Tory parties all condemned Robertson's comments.

David McLetchie, the Scottish Tory leader, told the Scotsman that the Bank "should tell Mr. Robertson to reflect on the damage this has done to the reputation of his business partner back home. This affair has been damaging to the Bank of Scotland's reputation in Scotland."

The financial turmoil followed on the heels of the announcement that Robertson had eliminated the position of Christian Coalition Executive Director Randy Tate, and moved Tate out of the political organization's Chesapeake, Virginia headquarters to the group's lobbying office in Washington, D.C., another in a series of shake-ups at the financially struggling organization. Tate's departure from headquarters capped off the flight of the organization's entire senior leadership under Robertson, some of whom, like field director Chuck Cunningham, citing the group's lack of resources.

"It took the people of Scotland a very short time to see the light about Pat Robertson," said Rich Tafel, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans. "How long will it take some elements of the Republican Party to realize that this man is politically deadly? Will it take a similar public humiliation for the GOP to learn that pandering to him and giving him a platform is seriously damaging the party?"