By Erin Rook, PQ Monthly
Thought the headline was bad? It only gets worse.
Gawker is offering to pay for information related to how Magic Johnson contracted HIV, according to a post on the site by Editor A.J. Daulerio (via Towleroad). The call for info is apparently in response to last night’s PBS Frontline documentary, “AIDS in Black America.”
For more than 20 years, Magic Johnson has been HIV positive—but it’s never been revealed who he contracted it from. Last night on PBS’sFrontline documentary, “AIDS in Black America,” Magic disclosed the same vague answer he’s given the press since 1991: “Sleeping with a lot of women.”
Still, it seems odd that there’s been no follow-up about which of these women was HIV positive. Or how many. Given the media environment in 1991 and Magic’s impact on the culture at that time, asking about his private life was akin to asking Rudy Giuliani if he thought 9/11 was an inside job four hours after the Twin Towers fell. But since then, the story wasn’t advanced any further.
I get the intrigue around how Magic Johnson contracted HIV. Female to male sexual transmission of HIV is incredibly uncommon. According to Avert, in 2008 about 12 percent of males living with HIV contracted the virus via heterosexual contact. More than half (63 percent) got HIV through male-to-male contact.
Now, what turns tabloid curiosity into something even more disrespectful is the way Daulerio explains the background information that leads him to believe there’s more to the story. Suffice it to say it involves rumors of Eddie Murphy-hosted orgies, transsexual prostitutes, and a very rudimentary understanding of sex and gender.
No matter where you stand on the exploitation of celebrities’ personal lives, a witch hunt for Johnson’s (likely deceased) patient zero seems to cross a number of lines. What do you think? Is it any of our business? If you knew, would you tell?