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Basketball legend Magic Johnson was the subject of a Twitter hoax this weekend as a picture circulated of him apparently donating his HIV positive blood to charity.
However, BuzzFeed obtained a screenshot of the tweet in which Mcgrady wrote: “Wtf don’t you got AIDS? RT @MagicJohnson: Just got done donating blood for charity.” Attached was a picture of Johnson smiling as his blood was being drawn.
In reality, the picture is a screen capture from a 2012 Frontline documentary called Endgame: AIDS in Black America. The NY Times reported last July that the film highlighted the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in African American communities. Johnson told his own story of having to retire from the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team in 1991 after contracting HIV.
The screen capture is from a scene of Johnson having blood drawn by an HIV specialist for treatment.
Mcgrady fabricated the blood donation story, but people picked it up and ran with it. According to Buzzfeed, a common reaction was horror and anger. One person retweeted the hoax and responded: “Remind me to never accept blood” and another wrote “You’re committing murder. No one wants your AIDS blood!”
Johnson publicly announced his HIV diagnosis in 1991. For twenty years he has been a dedicated spokesperson for HIV/AIDS education and prevention, urging young African Americans to take the disease very seriously.