On the June 22, 2010 broadcast of ABC's The View," host Sherri Shepherd and guest host D.L. Hughley perpetuated dangerous myths about HIV/AIDS and black gay/bisexual men.
GLAAD has issued an action alert after reaching out to The View and the show refused to apologize. Go HERE to find out how to emailand its producers, and please consider signing a petition demanding an apology.
Two personal friends of Shepherd, who has previously denied evolution and says she believes the Earth could be flat, have contacted Rod 2.0 and criticized our calling attention to the matter. Shepherd's friends have taken to Twitter and applauded her for "doing something right" and are labeling viewers seeking accurate HIV information as "haters."
While discussing the FDA ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, the comedian guest Hughley claimed black gay, bisexual and so-called "down low" men were fueling the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the black community. Said Hughley: "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."
Shepherd added: "It's very prevalent with African American women because they come home and have sex with their wives or their girlfriends. And they're not telling them that they're gay. It's so big in the Black community with women because they're having unprotected sex with men who have been having sex with... with men."
And here's the clip ...
CDC: NO LINK BETWEEN "DOWN LOW" AND HIV
1) As reported many times on R20, the Centers for Disease Control has debunked this dangerous HIV/AIDS myth. On "Men on the Down Low" the CDC reports: "The phenomenon of men on the down low has gained much attention in recent years; however, there are no data to confirm or refute publicized accounts of HIV risk behavior associated with these men." (http://bit.ly/17eHXq)
2) Gregorio Millett, Senior Policy Adviser in the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, co-authored a study on black gay/bisexual men and HIV. In a February 2010 interview with Black AIDS Weekly, Millett says: "I tried to shed light through research [on] the "down low" and its relationship to HIV infection among African Americans. My colleagues and I were among the first to scientifically prove with quantitative data that identifying as "down low" was not associated with greater sexual-risk behaviors with male or female partners; nor was it associated with a greater likelihood of HIV infection." (http://bit.ly/cNCtRl)
3) That study was co-authored by Emory University's Dr. David Malebranche and is called "Focusing 'Down Low": Bisexual Black men, HIV Risk and Heterosexual Transmission." The study concludes there is "no" linkage between bisexual black men and HIV and concludes: "The contribution of high-risk heterosexual black men to the rising HIV caseload among black women has been largely ignored." (http://snipr.com/xvixc)
4) In a 2008 CDC-sponsored study reported at Indiana University's Archives for Sexual Behavior, Malebranche writes: "With little evidence to support it, the idea that such a small population (HIV-positive bisexually active black men) is causing all or the majority of infections among heterosexual black women is a fallacy at best." (http://bit.ly/9hy8Bc)
5) Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the Centers for Disease Control's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, discussed his research with NNPA News in October 2009. Fenton said the CDC "has looked to see what proportion of [HIV] infections is coming from male partners who are bisexual and found there are actually relatively few." Read the full interview ... (http://bit.ly/dbm3yv)
Call on "The View" to issue an on-air apology and correct Sherri Shepherd and D.L. Hughley's HIV misinformation. This program reaches millions of viewers and ABC must ensure that its platforms are not used to perpetuate dangerous falsehoods that put our community in harm's way. Use GLAAD's tools to contact The View's producers and sign a petition.
Please link this post or GLAAD's call to action in your Facebook, Twitter or other social networks.
Contact Executive Producer Bill Geddie:
ABC "The View"
Contact Corporate Communications VP Julie Hoover:
ABC Television Network
(212) 456-6641 firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact the emails above or @TheViewTV and ask for an apology. Email or tweet the shortened CDC "bit" links to the emails above and @TheViewTV. Ask all your timeline to RT. Tell @TheViewTV that @SherriEShepherd and DL Hughley @FNYKAT are not qualified to discuss medical facts.
Contact @SherriEShepherd and tell her that you are a not "hater" and would like her to provide accurate HIV information. Demand an apology and tweet the shorten links above.
Please contact DL Hughley @FNYKAT and ask him to provide accurate HIV information, too. Demand an apology and tweets the shortened links above.
Also: If you see any prominent black gay men on Twitter or Facebook defending Shepherd, please email R20 with those names or links immediately. We'll be taking care of them soon.