Today I was contacted by a good friend who recently participated in the recording of an episode of the reality show “Judge Mathis”. For readers outside of the USA, the Judge Mathis show is a live action “court room” reality show in a similar style to Judge Judy or The People’s Court. My friend Craig (name changed to protect the identity of his partner) has reported that as part of the defendants testimony his partner’s HIV status was outed.
Man’s HIV Status Outed During Recording Of Judge Mathis Show
Most disturbing is that it would appear that the person’s HIV status was totally irrelevant to the case at hand. Craig reports that the defendant then went on to accuse him of also being HIV positive and that he was spreading HIV.[quote style=”boxed”] I was just infected with HIV on national tv yesterday.
I appeared in a taping of the Judge Mathis show. The defendent outted my partner’s status and accused me of being hiv+ and spreading hiv.
I was so taken aback and not prepared to defend my hiv status that I choked and chose not to respond when the judge asked. After all, this was a $3,000 small claims case for rent that I loaned him.
All I could think about was how I did not want to confirm my partner’s status on national TV.
By choosing not to respond, I allowed the jerk to infect me publicly.
In an ironic twist Craig is actually participating in an HIV vaccine trial which requires him to have not been exposed to HIV.
What deeply concerns me is the potential for how The Judge Mathis Show may use this footage.
At this stage the episode is not yet aired. The production team of The Judge Mathis Show, Warner Brothers will have the opportunity to make a decision whether the footage is used, and if it is will they include the outing of a HIV positive male as well as the accusation of “spreading HIV”?
From Judge Mathis Show website Judge Mathis is reported to show strong social justice and is a role model for the youth of America:[quote style=”boxed”]Judge Mathis is a national figure known for his advocacy campaigns for equal justice. His inspirational life story of a street youth who rose from jail to Judge has provided hope to millions who watch him on the award-winning television court show Judge Mathis each day. In addition, his weekly newspaper column brings social and political insight to readers throughout the country.[/quote]
I hope that this sense of equality of justice extends to defending of the rights of people living with HIV to not have their condition disclosed on national television.
I urge you to contact the marketing team behind this show and let them know that medical conditions including highly stigmatised infections like HIV are not suitable fodder to increase show views and ultimately advertising dollars for the show and Warner Brothers.
It is time to draw a line in the sand and say it is not acceptable to out a person’s HIV status. To do this via a nationally syndicated television show is nothing short of the vile tactics used in the exploitation films of years gone by.
I urge you to please share this via facebook, tweet this to the world. Stand up and say enough. It’s time to stop the stigma.
Dr George Forgan-Smith Screen Cap From: Judge Mathis TV