Sunday, June 06, 2004

While millions of others around the globe are mourning the death of Ronald Reagan, and the media have gone into overkill praising the man and his life, his record on AIDS has been ignored.

I did a search on for a possible apology from Reagan, after he left the White House, for his neglect of the AIDS epidemic during his tenure. Gay journalist Rex Wockner sent a query to his audience asking if anyone remembers Reagan issuing such an apology, and I couldn't, but knew if he had, then something about it would be on the site.

Lo and behold, in 1990 San Francisco newspapers ran the item below, saying some AIDS bureaucrats interpreted Reagan's appearance in a public service announcement for an AIDS organization as an apology. I think the papers and bureaucrats read too much into Reagan's statements in the ad.

Let's ask and hope that the mainstream media soon end their fawning approach to his legacy and look critically at Reagan's shameful record on AIDS and how he did nothing until it was too late.

"AIDSWEEK: Reagan--Better Late Than Never?"
San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle (02/04/90), P. A4
Hilton, Bruce


Abstract: Insiders say Ronald Reagan's AIDS public service announcement amounts to an apology for his neglect of the epidemic while in the White House. The announcement was aired last Monday for the benefit of the Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Reagan said, "We can all grow and learn in our lives and I've learned all kinds of people can get AIDS, even children." The former president says you can't get AIDS from hugging someone and asks for compassion for people with AIDS....The $7 million in profit from actor Paul Newman's food company went to charity; more than $600,000 went to AIDS-related groups....Reports persisted at the funeral of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh that he died of HIV-related conditions. Although Rajneesh was seriously ill for several years, there is no way to confirm the rumors because his body was cremated three hours after his death.


"AIDS Protesters Greet Reagan at Penn's Anniversary Fete"
United Press International (05/17/90)
Baker, Paul


Abstract: Philadelphia--Roughly 200 AIDS activists and other protesters greeted Ronald Reagan yesterday at the University of Pennsylvania's 250th anniversary celebration. Protesters demonstrated outside as Reagan spoke because they said he did virtually nothing for AIDS research during his presidency. "We are here to condemn Ronald Reagan for crimes against humanity," said Michael Marsico, spokesman for ACT UP. "We don't think he should be honored because of his horrendous record, especially concerning AIDS." Police said 20 demonstrators had been arrested by mid-morning for obstructing a highway and that they expected more arrests. Protesters held a die-in, drawing chalk outlines of human bodies on the sidewalk, and chanted "Seventy-thousand dead, where was Ron?"


"500 Protesters Have Different View of Event"
Los Angeles Times (11/05/91), P. A27
Lozano, Carlos V.

Abstract: A $57 million library that was dedicated by former President Ronald Reagan on Monday received much criticizm from groups of protesters. More than 500 demonstraters gathered at the ceremonies in the Simi Valley to protest the policies of the current and former cheif executives. The protesters that received the most attention were those who expressed outrage at Reagan's and President Bush's policies on AIDS. One protest sign read, "Reagan Can't Remember, History Won't Forget." Approximately 200 gay rights protesters from ACT UP/LA and Queer Nation were seen carrying cardboard tombstones and foam skulls to remind the executives of the many people who have died from AIDS. Reagan failed to take a stance on the issue of AIDS when it first arrived in the early 1980s, said the demonstrators. One protester said that Reagan "took 5 1/2 years just to say the word AIDS. He was more concerned about the Evil Empire than with his own people." Another protester pointed out that the money spent for the library could have easily saved many lives.

Gone Too Far
Washington Times (07/19/94) P. A6

Ex-president Ronald Reagan has hired Los Angeles law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher to file a lawsuit on his behalf against Italian fashion firm Benetton over a recent ad campaign in which the company portrays Reagan as an AIDS patient. The controversial picture of the former chief, retouched to give the impression of AIDS-related lesions, was accompanied by an editorial "obituary." Oliviero Toscani, Benetton's editorial director, said the picture aligns with Reagan's failure to promote condom use. "He did nothing to sensitize the people to the risk of contracting" AIDS, he said.

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