Over the weekend, a quote purported to be from televangelist/noted huckster Pat Robertson made the social media rounds in which Robertson implied that the coronavirus pandemic is a result of young people’s newfangled sexual experimentation. Robertson is “quoted” as saying that the coronavirus was created by “some of these young uns … doing all kinds of unnatural things with their sex organs.” It’s totally a fake.
Given Robertson’s history of strange stuff, you could be forgiven for thinking it was real. Lots of people did. The fake quote was shared by the likes of Chelsea Peretti, Bradley Whitford and Alyssa Milano, who have hundreds of thousands of fans and now the quote has gone officially viral.
“When people do that, they transfer all kinds of chemicals from ladies’ private parts and that’s where I think the virus came from,” the fake article goes onto falsely attribute to Robertson. “We never had this kind of thing when I was coming up. But no one was committing oral sex back then.”
The “quote” comes from a website called Business Standard News, which is one of those “satirical” websites that seems less interested in satire than in generating clicks by creating vaguely plausible headlines. Other “stories” currently on its site are about things like Paula White selling face masks “blessed” by President Donald Trump or reporting that some supporters of Trump believe only “godless liberals” can catch the novel coronavirus.
Obviously, lots of people are fooled into thinking the occasional Onion or Clickhole headline is legitimate — but spots like Business Standard News (“BS News.” Get it?) often deliberately go out of their way to hoodwink readers. This raises the question of what exactly it is they’re trying to “satire” and if something can be called a joke if most people think it’s real.
Robertson’s case wasn’t exactly helped by the fact that he has said some wildly offensive stuff in the past. He blamed the Las Vegas Shooting on people who are disrespectful to Trump and blamed the 9/11 attacks on the LGBT community and the ACLU. So, yeah, not exactly the kind of guy you have to make up crazy quotes for. Wait long enough and he’ll give you plenty of real ones.