TV network apologises for US preacher’s false claim on Aids in Kenya

Tuesday October 21 2014

Pat Robertson. The US television network that carries preacher Mr Robertson's daily programme apologised on Monday for his false claim that visitors to Kenya could contract Aids from towels. PHOTO| COURTESY

Pat Robertson. The US television network that carries preacher Mr Robertson's daily programme apologised on Monday for his false claim that visitors to Kenya could contract Aids from towels. PHOTO | COURTESY 

By KEVIN J. KELLEY
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The US television network that carries preacher Pat Robertson's daily programme apologised on Monday for his false claim that visitors to Kenya could contract Aids from towels.

“Dr Robertson misspoke about the possibility of getting Aids from towels,” the Christian Broadcasting Network said, in a posting on Facebook.

“CBN recognised this error immediately and removed that statement from the online archive. CBN apologises for any confusion.”

The 84-year-old conservative evangelist warned on his “700 Club” show on October 16 that travellers should take stringent health precautions while in Kenya.

““You might get Aids in Kenya,” Mr Robertson told his estimated one million viewers. “People have Aids. You've got to be careful. I mean, the towels could have Aids.”

Mr Robertson's claim was quickly challenged by groups active on Aids issues.

They noted that the US government's Office of Women's Health says the virus that causes Aids cannot be spread through “sharing food utensils, towels and bedding, telephones, or toilet seats.”

RISKS OF VISITING KENYA

Mr Robertson's remark came in response to an emailed question from an anonymous viewer who expressed concern about the risks of visiting Kenya during the Ebola crisis in Africa.

He assured the questioner that there have been no cases of Ebola in Kenya, which, he noted, is far from the epicentre of the outbreak in West Africa.

But Mr Robertson cited the danger of contracting other diseases in Kenya in addition to Aids.

Mosquito bites can result in serious illnesses, he said, adding, “The sanitation isn't what it ought to be. You drink the water, it's not sterilised, you can get intestinal bugs.”