Firefly Pointer Fiberglass Jacket: We need to talk about this: The Foo Fighters are "AIDS denialists"

Sunday, December 9, 2018

We need to talk about this: The Foo Fighters are "AIDS denialists"

Preface: I am a fan of the Foo Fighters' music, so this isn't intended to be a hit piece. I genuinely feel troubled by what I'm about to share with you in this blog entry. I had no idea about this until just days ago.

 Recently I saw a video that addressed celebrities with controversial beliefs. The one that stood out to me was Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters being "AIDS denialists" (which I didn't even know was a thing?) aka "HIV Truthers". I immediately had to look into this because it sounded just too crazy to be real (and you should ALWAYS be skeptical of things you hear and do. your. research.) An article that I felt was very thorough on the topic was "Foo Fighters, HIV Deniers"
"Maggiore’s message has apparently penetrated the minds of at least some Foo aficionados. She says she has heard from many Foo fans since the show — one of whom, she says, now works at the Alive and Well office. 
“AIDS is a toxic disease caused by either long-term recreational drug abuse or short-term anti-HIV medications,” writes a 22-year-old member of the Alive and Well-affiliated Students Reappraising AIDS on the Foo Fighters’ Web-based message board. “HIV is not spread sexually, nor is it the cause of any disease.” 
Other fans are less impressed. Damian Purdy, a 21-year-old Winnipeg, Canada resident and devoted Foo Fighters fan, is outraged by the band’s position. “By supporting this, the Foo Fighters have entered an arena that they have no business being in. The truth is that a rock concert is not the appropriate platform for these views to be expressed. I think the Foo Fighters have more influence than they realize,” he says."
 The deeper I dug the worse it looked. Not only have they teamed up with Christine Maggiore who is an AIDS denialist (WITH AIDS *long sigggghhhhhh*) for harmful promotions on tours and a crackpot documentary. Her website Alive and Well reads that AIDS is not a disease, one shouldn't seek medication for AIDS, and furthermore if you do it should only be homeopathy, herbs and naturopathy. Spoiler alert: Maggiore passed away from complications with AIDS in 2008.


 The Foo Fighters and Dave Grohl were a part of a documentary called "House of Numbers: Anatomy of an Epidemic." Here's a brief description of the movie: "The film argues that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is harmless and does not cause acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), a position known as AIDS denialism. The film's claims of impartiality have been widely rejected by scientists, and the film's claims about HIV/AIDS have been dismissed as pseudoscience and conspiracy theory masquerading as even-handed examination."

I had to wonder if they still hold these views? I did some looking into it and found that they were vocal about being HIV deniers up until LAST YEAR (2017). As of currently there are no links on their site like there was last year. If you use the Way Back Machine aka Archive.org you can find screen captures on the official Foo Fighters site.

 As far as I can find they never retracted their stance. I found no signs of a change of heart on their site or social media.  I decided to reach out to them via tweet to see if I can clear the air on this issue. I'm able to find a few excerpts that echo the point that they since 'distanced themselves' from it in articles like  The Top 5 AIDS Denialists.
"Among Maggiore's supporters were members of the rock group, the Foo Fighters, who organized a sold-out benefit concert for her in 2001 (a stance they have since distanced themselves from on their band's website)." 
 In this section there's a link that simply takes you to an old message on the Foo Fighters message board (from 2006) with a random member of the forum (not a band member, I made sure) speaking against AIDS denialism. So sadly that leads nowhere since it's not coming from the band itself. 

Looks like they have only distanced themselves by taking the link off their official website.

 This fan's comment, which the above article uses as evidence of the band's change of heart states this:
"Please don't support Alive and Well    This organization advocates a dangerous position that can lead to people not receiving appropriate treatment for HIV and AIDS. The organization may make some interesting points, however this is not just some academic discussion, peoples lives are at stake. Your support encourages people to make decisions about HIV and AIDS based on the incomplete and misleading information promulgated by Alive and Well. Not only does the organization advocate putting less research into HIV and AIDS, it asks people not to use condoms to protect against HIV and asks people with HIV and AIDS not to take their medication. That is dangerous advice and I believe your support of this organization is irresponsible."
 It doesn't look like there has been a change of heart. It looks like they got some heat and decided to go quiet. Being a fan of theirs I'm disappointed to hear that they haven't seemed to change. At first I thought/hoped I'd easily find an article mentioning how they've since changed their minds on the whole AIDS denialist thing. For a great deep dive into this crazy topic, check out Myles Power's video series Debunking the AIDS Denialist Movie House of Numbers and the article The Deadly Legacy of HIV Truthers.

 Like I mentioned I reached out to the Foo Fighters on Twitter to see if they could clear the air. I doubt they'll respond, but I had to give that a try. If you to know of or have come by an article or video where they give an update on that I will gladly update my blog. Feel free to contact me through here or email.

P.S. Anyone else find it ironic that they have toured and performed with Queen doing tributes to Freddie Mercury who died of AIDS?

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