On June 24, 2010, GLAAD issued a Call to Action in response to a June 22 broadcast of ABC's "The View" in which host Sherri Shepherd and guest host D.L. Hughley perpetuated dangerous myths about African American gay and bisexual men. While discussing the FDA's ban that prevents gay and bisexual men from donating blood, Shepherd and Hughley communicated misinformation about the causes of increased HIV rates among African American women and used the phrase "down low" to describe men who have sex with men but publicly identify as heterosexual.
Following the Call to Action, thousands of LGBT people and allies have contacted "The View" demanding an on-air apology for these misrepresentations. GLAAD reiterated this demand in an advertisement appearing in Variety Magazine on Monday, July 12, in partnership with the National Black Justice Coalition and the Black AIDS Institue.
TAKE ACTION: Click here to send an email to the "The View" asking them to issue an on-air apology and correct Sherri Shepherd and D.L. Hughley's misrepresentation of African American gay & bisexual men.
GLAAD Blog: Holding ABC's The View to Its Own Standards
Call to Action:
Call on ABC’s “The View” to Retract Hosts’ Damaging Myths about African American Gay & Bisexual Men
Network Refuses to correct dangerous misinformation shared on its airwaves
June 24, 2010 - On the June 22 broadcast of ABC's daytime talk show "The View," host Sherri Shepherd and guest host D.L. Hughley perpetuated dangerous myths about African American gay and bisexual men.
While discussing the FDA's ban that prevents gay and bisexual men from donating blood, Shepherd and Hughley communicated misinformation about the causes of increased HIV rates among African American women and used the phrase "down low" to describe men who have sex with men but publicly identify as heterosexual.
Here are excerpts from a transcript of the segment:
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. That's the thing.
Shepherd: The down low is black men who've been going out. They are having sex with men and they're not telling their girlfriends or their wives that they're gay and their husbands, as well. And 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.
Shepherd: 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.
|view the clip on Hulu|
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), however, has debunked the dangerous myth that Shepherd and Hughley cited on the program. Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the Centers for Disease Control's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention talked about his research to NNPA News in October 2009. Fenton said that 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," and goes on to attribute most infections to other factors.
Read Fenton's entire interview.
GLAAD reached out to ABC's "The View" today and asked the show to educate its audience with the facts. Unfortunately the network refused to take responsibility or correct the faulty information.
"Sherri Shepherd and D.L. Hughley's claim that African American gay and bisexual men are ‘primarily' responsible for increased HIV rates among African American women is inaccurate and dangerous," said GLAAD's Senior Director of Programs Rashad Robinson. "Medical experts, including the Centers for Disease Control have dispelled that myth and ABC has a responsibility to its viewers to correct the information. Shepherd and Hughley's comments fuel a climate of homophobia and racism."
TAKE ACTION NOW:
Call on "The View" to issue an on-air apology and correct Sherri Shepherd and D.L. Hughley's misrepresentation of African American gay & bisexual men. 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.
Brad Jamison, Vice President Corporate Initiatives
ABC Television Network
Julie Hoover, Corporate Communications Vice President
ABC Television Network
Bill Geddie, Executive Producer
ABC "The View"
Director of National News
Director of Communications
For more information on how to cover this issue fairly, please consult GLAAD's Media Reference Guide- Page 34