Refusing to be ignored, GLAAD (the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) has teamed with the Black AIDS Institute and the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) and placed a full page ad in Monday’s Variety magazine, calling on ABC Television and its popular morning program The View, to correct a misleading quote about the spread of HIV among African Americans.
Last month, co-host Sherri Shepherd and guest host, comedian D.L. Hughley, blamed increased HIV rates among straight African American women on gay and bisexual black men men who are secretly gay, often referred to as “on the down low.”
“When you look at the prevalence of HIV in the African American community, it’s primarily young women who are getting it from men who are on the down low,” Hughley said on the June 22 broadcast.
Shepherd added, “It’s so big in the black community with women because they’re having sex with men who have been having sex with men.”
The Variety ad placement comes nearly three weeks after GLAAD issued a “Call to Action,” charging The View with perpetuating “dangerous myths,” despite evidence to the contrary from the Centers for Disease Control.
(The ad appears below; click on image to enlarge.)
After the show aired, thousands of people stood with GLAAD and demanded an apology and a correction. But so far, ABC and The View have remained silent on the issue.
“ABC and The View’s refusal to correct these inaccurate remarks comes at the expense of African American gay and bisexual men, straight African American women and millions of audience members who need facts about HIV/AIDS, not myths. It’s extremely disheartening to see a program that usually covers our community with respect, unwilling to correct this serious lapse in editorial judgment,” said Rashad Robinson, GLAAD’s Senior Director of Programs.
GLAAD has cited a 2009 interview in which a senior CDC official said that heterosexual black men with multiple sex partners — not bisexual men who secretly have sex with men — are responsible for high rates of HIV among black women.
In that interview, Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, said, “We have looked to see what proportion of infections is coming from male partners who are bisexual and found there are actually relatively few.”
“More are male partners who are having female partners and are injecting drugs or using drugs or have some other risks that may put those female partners at risk of acquiring HIV,” he added.
As of late Monday, still no comment from ABC or The View.