FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show Magic Johnson Donating Blood To Help Coronavirus Patients?
An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows former NBA star Magic Johnson donating blood for people sickened by the new coronavirus.
The image shows Johnson receiving medical treatment related to his HIV-positive status, not him donating blood to help people with COVID-19.
Through a reverse image search, the Daily Caller discovered that the photo actually comes from “Endgame: AIDS in Black America,” a 2012 Frontline documentary featuring personal testimonies from people living with HIV and AIDS as well as input from experts on both. Johnson, who announced his retirement from the NBA in 1991 after testing positive for HIV, can be seen receiving medical treatment related to the virus in the documentary.
Social media users have shared the still image falsely claiming that it depicts Johnson donating blood since at least 2013, despite several news outlets debunking the notion. This particular post bears the watermark “#CFTTN,” referencing the Facebook page College Football Trash Talk Nation. That Facebook page disclaims “all posts are satire and meant to make you laugh” on its “About” page. (RELATED: Hoax Claims That Pepsi Products Are Infected With HIV)
Under the Food and Drug Administration’s current guidelines, Johnson cannot donate blood, further adding to the dubiousness of the post’s claim. People who “have AIDS or have ever had a positive HIV test” are ineligible for donating blood and blood products, according to the American Red Cross website.
At press time, the U.S. has reported 467,184 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and 16,736 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center map.