Dennis Prager, a conservative commentator, said in a Nov. 8 interview with Newsmax that it was “inconceivable” that gay men would have been seen as “pariahs” during the AIDS crisis. Prager said, “During the AIDS crisis, can you imagine if gay men and intravenous drug users … had they been pariahs the way the non-vaccinated are? But it would’ve been inconceivable”
Prager did not respond to an inquiry for this article. But we checked with multiple historians of the period and each was mystified by the characterization that the AIDS epidemic somehow spared gay men and intravenous drug users from being treated as outcasts. Gay men were pariahs in public opinion, under the law, in the media, and among government officials.
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There are multiple quotes and citations.
Dennis Prager: “During the AIDS crisis, can you imagine if gay men and intravenous drug users…had they been pariahs the way the non-vaccinated are? But it would’ve been inconceivable” pic.twitter.com/GQsOq4X63u
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) November 8, 2021
NEW: Fact-checking Dennis Prager’s claim that it was “inconcievable” that gay men were seen as ‘pariahs’ during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. Pants on Fire. https://t.co/luPXQbVpwW pic.twitter.com/QdEMRbKqUW
— PolitiFact (@PolitiFact) November 11, 2021
“Ahistorical and inconceivably upside down.” “Willfully ignorant.” “Utterly ridiculous.”
— Tampa Bay Times (@TB_Times) November 12, 2021
I weigh in on the latest assault on LGBT ppl. “The most important evidence of how poorly gay men were treated in that era was that LGBT people had to form their own organizations in order to respond to the collective absence of the federal government…
— Dr. Jim Downs (@jimdowns1) November 11, 2021
When someone says something so spectacularly stupid and false as Dennis Prager did about AIDS, Covid and prejudice, the only way to fight back is with the facts, which @loujacobson does brilliantly in his @PolitiFact article. Have a read.https://t.co/LVgOA4riMD
— Eric Marcus (@EricBMarcus) November 11, 2021