Remember Amy Kushnir, the male stripper-loving Dallas morning show host who stormed off the set last week after a pearl-clutching tirade about how Michael Sam's gay kiss was being "pushed in [the] faces" of children?
Well, as it turns out, that hypocritical high horse appears to be one that Ms. Kushnir's been riding on for a long time: new information suggests that she's the daughter of infamous
snake-oil salesman televangelist huckster "Rev." Robert Tilton.
The "Christian Nightmares" Tumblr page was the first to point out the connection, linking to a 2011 blog post that refers to her as "Amy Tilton Kushnir."
Gay blogger Joe Jervis noted the conspicuous absence of Kushnir's parents in both of her official biographies, so he decided to dig deeper. Jervis writes:
Rev. Robert Tilton's first wife, to whom he was married during the ABC-spawned scandal, is named Martha and goes by the unusually spelled nickname Marte. Two weeks ago Kushnir posted a Facebook photo of her mother's birthday party and in the comments a friend of Kushnir's writes, "Happy birthday, Marte!"...
Fourteen years ago Charisma Magazine interviewed Marte Tilton and noted that she had four children with Robert Tilton, including a daughter named Amy, then aged 30. According to the Explore Talent site, Dallas television host Amy Kushnir is 44 today. In a 2001 interview with the Dallas Morning News, Marte asked that paper not say where her children live, adding that they have "suffered a lot because of their last name." Marte and Rev. Tilton divorced in 1993, when the television host Amy Kushnir would have been 23.
Jervis also notes that when Robert Tilton's mother Margaret died in 2006, her obituary lists an Amy Tilton Kushnir and husband Bill among her survivors. Amy's husband is indeed named Bill.
As Joe points out, these could all just be coincidences, but when this many start to pile up, it's time to start asking questions.
With just a bit of Googling, I've uncovered another coincidence of my own. Details, after the jump.
Here's the aforementioned photo of her mother's birthday party that Amy Kushnir posted on Facebook -- the one where a friend identifies Kushnir's mother as "Marte."
Let's blow up Marte's face on the top right:
Now let's do a Google image search to see whether there are any photographs of Marte Tilton we can compare that image to:
That first photo is clearly my dear friend Michele Bachmann and the second is some random, amply-bosomed woman, but what about that third photo? That face looks strikingly similar to the face of the woman identified as Marte above.
Clicking through, we see that that face belongs to a woman named Marte Phillips. Ms. Phillips works as the human resources director for Generational Equity, a merger and acquisition company based in Dallas, Texas. The maiden name of "Rev." Robert Tilton's first wife, also named Marte, was Phillips -- perhaps Ms. Phillips went back to her former name in the wake of her now-ex-husband Robert Tilton's fall from grace?
Interestingly, Marte Phillips's Generational Equity biography boasts about her experience in creating "multi-million dollar marketing campaigns including management of copy and design, list development, direct mail..." and "television sales membership enhancement [emphasis mine]." Could these be references to "Reverend" Robert Tilton's multimillion-dollar scamvangelism "ministry," which aired religious TV infomercials in the 1980s and 1990s and collected up to $80 million a year -- much of it through the U.S. Mail?
If Joe and the folks at Christian Nightmares are correct, and Dallas's "traditional values" TV hypocrite Amy Kushnir is indeed the daughter of "Rev." Robert Tilton and Marte (formerly Tilton) Phillips, it would go a long way towards explaining why Ms. Kushnir apparently wants everyone else to live by a different standard than the one she sets for herself. Religion-based hypocrisy must run in the family -- after all, "Reverend" Tilton told his poor but pious followers he'd personally pray for them if they sent him their prayer requests (along with a "vow" of money, of course). Their prayers went into the dumpster; their cash -- hundreds of millions of dollars altogether -- went into Tilton's bank account.
Hypocritically claiming to be outraged over a gay on-air kiss -- when you yourself cavort with strippers on morning-time television -- seems positively quaint by comparison.
UPDATE: Via Memeographs and Twitter user @papalputz, here's a very clear photo of Amy Kushnir and Marte Phillips (formerly known as Marte Tilton):
UPDATE: Here's a very clear scan, via Amazon, of promotional material from a cassette tape recording of a Tilton seminar. Robert and Marte Tilton are pictured together. (Click to enlarge.)
UPDATE: Here's video footage of a young Amy (Tilton) Kushnir defending her disgraced father. (Skip to the 1:47:00 mark.)
Watch the 1991 ABC News Primetime Live exposé that unraveled Tilton's glittering scamvangelism empire:
Here's a deliciously irreverent YouTube spot poking fun at Kushnir's hypocrisy from Scott Wooledge at Memeographs:
And here are some clips of "Reverend" Robert Tilton in action:
h/t: Joe. My. God.