Three weeks ago a “hot topics” discussion on ABC’s “The View” between host Sherri Shepherd and guest co-host D.L. Hughley stirred up controversy over an ongoing myth about the role gay men play in the HIV/AIDS epidemic among Blacks in the U.S.
D.L. Hughley presented his opinion as a fact: “When you look at the prevalence of HIV in the African-American community, it’s primarily young women getting it from men on the ‘down low.’ ” But as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research has established, that’s just not true.
Since the original broadcast date on June 22nd, almost 3,500 people have written to ABC, according to organizers of the write-in campaign, asking that “The View” provide correct information to its audience. Wednesday, ABC finally responded.
After weeks of silence, ABC issued a statement—though certainly did nothing to clarify Hughley and Shepherd’s dangerous misinformation.
On June 22, during a discussion about blood donation and the transmission of HIV/AIDS, a guest moderator on the show expressed his interpretation of data about one way the virus can be transmitted. The topic of HIV/AIDS has been raised many times over the show’s 13 years, with many voices and opinions contributing to a conversation that we expect to continue as long as The View is on the air.
But the problem is Hughley and Shepherd’s comments weren’t presented as opinion, they were presented as fact. As an ad gay and AIDS activists placed in Variety noted, “When The View talks about these kinds of issues, people listen. And there’s a responsibility that comes with that.
GLAAD wants folks to continue to demand ABC and “The View” correct the show’s inaccurate claims.
Here’s CDC researcher and White House AIDS policy advisor Greg Millet explaining the truth about “down low” men and HIV at a White House briefing this spring: