Roundup: The View Ignores GLAAD’s Call for Correction

Beth Saunders

GLAAD has taken out a full page ad in Variety urging ABC and The View to correct statements made on its June 22 show regarding the transmission of HIV.

President Obama rolled out a new domestic HIV/AIDS policy yesterday, with a goal of reducing new infections, encouraging quick treatment and increasing public education of the disease.

Maybe that public education campaign should start with daytime television.

GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), along with the Black AIDS Institute and the National Black Justice Coalition, have taken out a full page ad in Variety urging ABC and The View to correct statements made on its June 22 show regarding the transmission of HIV. From New York Daily News,

During a discussion about the FDA ban on blood donation by gay and bisexual men, “View” co-host Sherri Sheperd and guest host D.L. Hughley said that secretly gay African American men are to blame for increased HIV rates among straight African American women.

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“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.

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.”

From Salon:

In case you missed the fear-mongering episode of “Oprah” that introduced middle America to the concept, a black man is said to be “on the down low” when he is in a straight relationship but secretly sleeps with other men.

The buzzterm has been used to explain the alarmingly high rate of HIV among African Americans and the skyrocketing rate of new infections in black women. But, as is often the case with catchy phrases of the moment, it’s too easy an answer, and it’s been thoroughly debunked as a causal (or even correlative) theory. Black women are far more likely to contract HIV by having unprotected sex with a man who uses intravenous drugs or has multiple partners.

Apparently Hughley didn’t get that memo — but ABC sure did when GLAAD launched a letter-writing campaign to alert the network to the error. And how did ABC respond when confronted with this embarrassing misstep? It didn’t, at all. So, GLAAD ran its impossible-to-miss ad (PDF) in Variety. It read: “When The View talks about these kinds of issues, people listen. And there’s a responsibility that comes with that.” Not only did the episode in question spread dangerous misinformation, but it also has the potential to stoke homophobia and racism. So far, though, the network is ignoring its responsibility and sticking with the silent treatment — surprise, surprise.

Mini-Roundup: A new poll shows Texans overwhelmingly support comprehensive sex education. Maybe they’ll put it in a textbook!

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Topics and Tags:

AIDS/HIV prevention, GLAAD, The View

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