"AIDS" is now trending on Twitter after a right-wing radio host compared unvaccinated "pariahs" to gay men during AIDS crisis.
Dennis Prager, an American conservative radio talk show host, made the claim that the people who refuse to get vaccinated against Covid-19 today are treated worse than gay men during the disastrous AIDS crisis. Prager, who also founded media company PragerU, said, President Joe Biden's vaccine mandates were making unvaccinated Americans "the pariahs of America."
Wild and Offensive Claim
Speaking to Newsmax on Monday, Prager said, "How did people get governed by irrational fears?" He continued, "Whether it is of the non-vaccinated, who are the pariahs of America, as I have not seen in my lifetime, any pariah group like this."
"Can you imagine, during the AIDS crisis, if gay men and intravenous drug users, the vast majority of people with Aids, had they been pariahs the way non-vaccinated are? It would have been inconceivable, and should have been inconceivable," he added.
In the 80s and 90s, several Republicans and Christians believed that HIV was God's plague to punish "promiscuous" homosexuals. At that time, AIDS was also described as a "gay plague" and "gay-related immunodeficiency disease" by these groups. Ronald Reagan's administration dragged its feet in dealing with the crisis due to homophobia.
What are the Other Controversies Surrounding Prager?
Prager was also in the news in April 2020, when he called the Covid-19 lockdowns "the greatest mistake in the history of humanity." At that time, he was widely slammed for misrepresenting the seriousness of the pandemic.
In the Monday's interview, Prager also stated that the concern about the climate crisis is an "idiotic, irrational, sick fear of extinction of the biosphere."
He said, "I mean, do you understand the nonsense that we live with? If we survive this as a free country, historians will just ask, 'How did this happen?'"
Social Media Reactions
Netizens were discussing about how Prager ignored the mistreatment of AIDS sufferers by wider society during the AIDS crisis during the 1980s.
One user wrote, "I remember being a closeted queer kid in the mid-90s in Central Texas and hearing adults say out loud that AIDS and HIV are a God-motivated plague to punish and eradicate homosexuality. Fu*k you, Dennis Prager." Another user wrote, "Conservatives will say anything. Once you get your flock to deny science/reality/truth then anything is possible. It would be hilarious if they didn't vote."
One person commented, "I was in my 20s during the 1980s. Reagan basically believed gay men and IV drug users deserved to die of AIDS because of their "illicit" lifestyle." Another person shared, "Dennis Prager hasn't had a sane, reasonable opinion in decades. The man is a loon."
One comment read, "These are the same people that say we wanna erase history by taking down racist monuments. It's scary." Another comment read, "Bruh like how do you go on TV and say such nonsense with a straight face."