Grier’s latest scandal started in April, TMZ reports, when the North Carolina teen (who boasts more than 8.7 million followers on Vine, making him the most popular account on the video-sharing app), decided to post up a video featuring a snippet from a commercial for the HIV test OraQuick.
In the commercial, two men say (rightfully so, may we add): “Testing for HIV. It’s not a gay thing.”
Then, the Vine video quickly cuts to Grier, who hurls out this homophobic slur straight into the camera: “Yes it is, F**!”
Grier apparently deleted the post shortly after it went up. But fortunately, the Internet never forgets. Somewhere along the line, Vine user MuneralsFab got a hold of the slur and re-posted it, Gawker reports. Soon after, it was re-shared by another online star: LGBT YouTube advocate, Tyler Oakley, who was appalled enough by the Vine to send out a massive Twitter blast against Grier.
Below is Oakley’s tweet and Grier’s now-infamous video:
Call me and people like me, ’fag’ all you want, but spreading false information about deadly diseases is next level. https://t.co/W6X9MUrgUK-- Tyler Oakley (@tyleroakley) July 6, 2014
Oakley’s blast made its rounds across social media over the holiday weekend, prompting a Twitter apology from the now-infamous teen. But HIV advocates have joined in on the fight against the Grier’s message. HIV Equal, an anti-stigma social media campaign, recently made this official statement about the debacle:
“HIV is not just a gay thing. It’s a woman thing, it’s an African-American thing, it’s a Latino thing--it’s something that affects everyone in every community,” said Gary Blick, MD, the co-founder of HIV Equal.
“Our youth need to be made aware that stigma against a disease or a community of people is not something that we, as a society, will tolerate,” said Tyler Curry, senior editor of HIV Equal online. The organization has also been blasting back against the teen by posting their own anti-stigma messaging to help raise awareness about the truth around HIV/AIDS.
Yes, it’s true that men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 63 percent of new infections in 2010--according to the latest stats available from the CDC--with most of those infections occurring among MSM of color between ages 13 and 24. But for those of you who are confused about why Grier’s Vine created so much uproar (aside from the F word), here are some other real facts about HIV/AIDS in the United States:
- Women accounted for nearly 20 percent of new HIV infections in 2010.
- 84 percent of HIV infections among women are through heterosexual contact.
- 24 percent of people living with HIV in 2009 were women.
- Since the beginning of the epidemic, almost 85,000 people who contracted HIV through heterosexual sex have died.