Earvin “Magic” Johnson is speaking out against two conservative radio hosts in Minnesota who suggested last week that his HIV is fake.
“We can’t have people out here making false statements and putting out bad information, because this battle is too big when it comes to HIV and AIDS,” Johnson told The Associated Press regarding the remarks of Chris Baker and Langdon Perry of KTLK in Minneapolis.
“I poured my life into it and a lot of other people have poured their life into it, into getting out the right information so people can protect themselves and know what HIV and AIDS is all about.”
Although Johnson called the remarks “so stupid,” he also said he wants the hosts to keep their jobs stating: “I would rather they educate their audience.”
According to a partial transcript and audio clip posted on mediamatters.org, the remarks came after a caller asserted that health care isn’t a basic right. Perry responded by asking about treatable diseases that a person can live with for a long time “if you just get some basic drugs.”
Baker responded, “Like Magic Johnson?”
Perry replied, “Like Magic with his faked AIDS. Magic faked AIDS.”
Baker said, “You think Magic faked AIDS for sympathy?”
Perry replied, “I’m convinced that Magic faked AIDS.”
“Me too,” Baker said.
KTLK’s apology statement said it recognized the seriousness of AIDS and the “great work” Johnson has done to call attention to the disease.
“We regret that some offhand remarks by commentators on KTLK did not reflect that,” the statement said. “To better inform our listeners and employees, KTLK will be airing HIV/AIDS awareness public service announcements, and will be reaching out to Mr. Johnson to get his thoughts on education efforts.”
Johnson, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1991, said his health is “wonderful.” He also noted that he has HIV, not AIDS.
“You have incredible drugs now,” he said. “I’m working out every day.”