MINNEAPOLIS – A Minneapolis radio station said it will air public service announcements on HIV/AIDS after a pair of talk hosts accused former NBA great Magic Johnson of faking AIDS.
KTLK's Chris Baker and Langdon Perry made the remarks during Baker's conservative talk show on Wednesday. After Johnson condemned the statements, the station said on Friday it regretted "some off-hand remarks" by the pair.
According to a partial transcript and an audio clip of the show, the exchange came up after a caller complained about demands on workers.
Perry responded by asking about treatable diseases that a person can live with for a long time "if you just get some basic drugs."
Baker responded, "Like Magic Johnson?"
Perry replied, "Like Magic with his faked AIDS. Magic faked AIDS."
Baker said, "You think Magic faked AIDS for sympathy?"
Perry replied, "I'm convinced that Magic faked AIDS."
"Me too," Baker said.
Johnson issued a statement Thursday saying he was "outraged that Chris Baker and Langdon Perry would minimize such a serious and deadly issue."
"Millions are dying from HIV/AIDS, and the fact that they would make jokes about my status is unbelievable," Johnson said. "Chris, Langdon and KTLK should use their power in a more positive light by encouraging people to get tested for this disease instead of making up such ridiculous lies."
Johnson was diagnosed with HIV in 1991 and immediately retired from the NBA at age 32.
A spokewoman for Magic Johnson Enterprises said she had no comment beyond the statement.