Donald Sterling Offends People Living With HIV During CNN Interview

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

L.A. Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, sat down with CNN's Anderson Cooper to clarify the racist statements he made during a now infamous audio recording with his assistant, V. Stiviano. But, instead of apologizing, as many were expecting, he only created more controversy, making a series of ignorant comments about HIV-positive, retired NBA player, Magic Johnson.


Sterling criticized Magic Johnson's character and his positive HIV status, rhetorically asking Cooper, "What kind of a guy goes to every city, has sex with every girl, then he catches HIV? Is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about? I think he should be ashamed of himself. I think he should go into the background. But what does he do for the black people? He doesn't do anything…I think he should be ashamed of himself."


CNN's interview with Sterling only added insult to injury. Sterling did little to separate himself from his racist comments and is now thought of as being racist and ignorant about HIV/AIDS and people living with the disease.

Johnson chose not to dignify the personal attack by taking to twitter to re-focus the attention on the league.

For HIV positive blogger, Mark S. King, who chronicles his life as a gay man living with HIV for his blog, My Fabulous Disease, Sterling's comments served only to vilify and further stigmatize people living with HIV/AIDS.


"He equates contracting HIV with shame, and that attitude is one of the key drivers of this epidemic because it discourages testing and makes those of us living with HIV feel like pariahs," he told Fusion. "Thank God, people living with HIV such as Magic Johnson are not going into the background. In fact, our own empowerment and advocacy has literally kept us alive."

During the interview, Sterling claimed Johnson hasn't done anything for his communities, when in fact, he's done a lot.


"Magic Johnson has found meaning and purpose in helping others and triumphing over adversity," King said. "That is a blueprint for life that anyone should be proud to follow."

Besides becoming an outspoken HIV/AIDS advocate, changing peoples' perceptions of what it means to live with HIV, Johnson has raised more than $20 million for charity and given out almost $4 million in scholarships since he was diagnosed with HIV in 1991, according to CNN.


Sterling's comments would be merely infuriating if they weren't also "ignorant and sad," according to King.

"Yes, people have sex, even athletes and movie stars and teachers and our parents," said King. "There is no shame in this very human behavior, or in the consequences that can result, whether it is an unexpected pregnancy or becoming infected with HIV."


Sterling's thoughts about Johnson's sexual history seem especially ironic, considering he's married, yet he allegedly had an extra-marrital affair with V. Stiviano.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter