GLAAD has called upon ABC and The View to apologize for recent comments made on the show regarding African-American gay and bisexual men.
During the June 22 episode of the daytime talk series, Sherri Shepherd and guest host D.L. Hughley linked the high HIV rates among straight African-American women to cheating African-American men who are having sex with other men. "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, while discussing the FDA's ban on gay and bisexual men from donating blood.
Shepherd further explained what Hughley meant by "down-low," adding, "[African-American men] are having sex with men, and they're not telling their girlfriends or their wives that they're gay."
GLAAD, the National Black Justice Coalition and the Black AIDS Institute published a full-page ad in Variety Monday that says that the information about the high HIV rates among straight African-American women is inaccurate.
"The Centers for Disease Control has publicly disproven this myth. And since June 22, thousands of people have written to ABC, asking that The View provide correct information to viewers," the ad reads. "Unfortunately, those requests have been greeted with silence from both ABC and The View. When The View talks about these kinds of issues, people listen. And there's a responsibility that comes with that."
"You need to look at the risk factors which are far more prevalent in the community — having multiple sexual partners with unprotected sex with heterosexual partners, injecting drugs," Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, told NPR in October 2009. "Those are going to be factors which are far more prevalent in the population and are driving risks."
ABC later noted in a statement that The View always has its hosts and guests "sharing personal views, thoughts and opinions," adding: "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."