Washington, DC– In a full-page ad running in last Monday’s Variety Magazine, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the Black AIDS Institute and the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) call on the ABC Television Network and The View, its popular morning program, to correct misinformation put forth on the June 22 edition of the show.
The ad reads in part, “On June 22, ABC’s The View aired inaccurate information about HIV, blaming African American gay and bisexual men for increased HIV rates among straight African American women. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has publicly disproved this myth. And since June 22, thousands of people have written to ABC, asking that The View provide correct information to viewers. Unfortunately, those requests have been greeted with silence from both ABC and The View.”
In response to The View’s refusal to address the issue, the National Black Justice Coalition’s Executive Director Sharon J. Lettman made this statement:
“We stand by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) years of research, which concludes that there is no evidence supporting the myth that Black women are disproportionately infected by men who have sex with men, and that there are several factors that contribute to the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among Black women. Dr. Kevin Fenton, the director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention at the CDC, a well-regarded expert in the study of HIV/AIDS, has repeatedly debunked this myth.
Lettman continued: “We are calling for an informed dialogue around the truths about HIV/AIDS in the Black community, void of stereotypes about Black LGBT people. This means facilitating conversations about safe sex, prevention, education, and living with HIV/AIDS, among other things. Because of the misinformation that
The View has irresponsibly promoted about the ways HIV is spread in Black communities, they have a responsibility to broadcast a correction and to then go one step further by featuring HIV/AIDS experts on the show who can better illustrate how deeply this disease is devastating our communities.”
The Variety ad placement comes nearly three weeks after inaccurate comments during The View’s “Hot Topics” segment. That day’s discussion centered on the Food and Drug Administration’s ban that prevents gay and bisexual men from donating blood.
Over 3,000 people have sent letters to ABC urging an apology and correction.
The Variety Magazine ad concludes by saying:
“When The View talks about these kinds of issues, people listen. And there’s a responsibility that comes with that. We want The View to do what it does at its best: Talk about the tough issues with a commitment to honesty, accuracy and fairness. We ask ABC and The View to keep the conversation going by correcting the record and elevating voices that can provide accurate information about HIV/AIDS for African American gay and bisexual men, African American women, and all viewers.”
The kind of misinformation espoused on The View fuels stigma and undermines efforts to end the AIDS epidemic in our communities. AIDS is too important an issue to allow myths and isinformation to go unaddressed. According to the Black AIDS Institute, every nine and a half minutes someone in this country is infected with HIV. Nearly 50 percent of the new HIV/AIDS cases, 50 percent of people living with HIV, and 50 percent of the annual AIDS related deaths in the U.S. are Black. AIDS is the third leading cause of death for Black men and women aged 35-44 in the U.S.
For more facts and information on HIV/AIDS please visit The Black AIDS Institute.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) amplifies the voice of the LGBT community by empowering real people to share their stories, holding the media accountable for the words and images they present, and helping grassroots organizations communicate effectively. By ensuring that the stories of LGBT people are heard through the media, GLAAD promotes understanding, increases acceptance, and advances equality. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org.
About the Black AIDS Institute:
Founded in May of 1999, the Black AIDS Institute is the only national HIV/AIDS think tank focused exclusively on Black people. The Institute’s Mission is to stop the AIDS pandemic in Black communities by engaging and mobilizing Black institutions and individuals in efforts to confront HIV. The Institute interprets public and private sector HIV policies, conducts trainings, offers technical assistance, disseminates information and provides advocacy mobilization from a uniquely and unapologetically Black point of view. Our motto describes a commitment to self-preservation: “Our People, Our Problem, Our Solution.” For more information, please visit http://www.blackaids.org/.