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ABC Family Distances Itself from Robertson

(Posted August 24, 2005 by Leah Yoakum)

LOS ANGELES ( Cable's ABC Family network came under some criticism recently for its new series "Beautiful People," which has depicted teens using drugs and featured a couple of sex-fueled subplots.

It has not, however, called for the removal of a foreign head of state by any means necessary. That came from televangelist Pat Robertson, whose "700 Club," thanks to a contract the Walt Disney Co. inherited when it bought the cable channel, airs on ABC Family.

Speaking Monday night (Aug. 22) about Venezuelan president and outspoken U.S. critic Hugo Chavez -- who has accused the United States of plotting to remove him from power -- Robertson said, "If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war."

The network, unsurprisingly, is making an effort to separate itself from Robertson and "The 700 Club," which is produced by Robertson's Christian Broadcast Network.

"ABC Family is contractually obligated to air 'The 700 Club' and has no editorial control over views expressed by the hosts or guests," the network says in a statement. "ABC Family strongly rejects the views expressed by Pat Robertson in the Aug. 22 telecast of the program." A U.S. State Department spokesman has called the remarks "inappropriate."

Robertson maintains his remarks were misinterpreted, telling CNN that he never said the U.S. should kill Chavez, but rather should act to "take him out."

"And 'take him out' can be a number of things, including kidnapping; there are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him," Robertson says.

Video of the "700 Club" broadcast, however, does show Robertson using the word "assassinate" as quoted above. He goes on to say that the U.S. has "the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability."

Disney bought what was then called the Family Channel from FOX owner News Corp. and producer Haim Saban in 2001, who had purchased the network from Robertson four years earlier. A condition of that deal was that "The 700 Club" continue to air on the channel, regardless of future ownership changes.

Source: Zap2it

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