Gawker Offers Large Sum of Money for Identity of Person Who Transmitted HIV to Magic Johnson

Gawker is offering a payday for information they feel is missing from PBS's Frontline documentary, AIDS in Black America: the identify the person who transmitted HIV to Magic Johnson.

Writes AJ Daulerio:

Magic_johnsonAbout three years ago, while I was editor at Deadspin, there was talk of a Hollywood Babylon-level conspiracy that was making the rounds in the LA nightlife scene. The story went that Magic, like most of his Los Angeles Lakers teammates, was caught up in so many orgiastic LA house parties and had so many random groupie f**k-buddies that tracking down Magic's female Patient Zero would be almost impossible. But then, another source said that Magic's ex-teammate, Norm Nixon, had started floating a different scenario: that Magic most likely contracted HIV during an infamous sex party at Eddie Murphy's mansion, where often times, transexual hookers were involved.

Obviously, Murphy's transsexual, uhm, "interests" were already publicized after his embarrassing pull-over incident in 1997. Our source pressed a little bit and never tracked down Nixon, but said he had other people willing to verify Magic's non-female proclivities on the record. The source would only do so for a large sum of money that was too expensive for Gawker Media, let alone Deadspin.

The female-to-male HIV statistics from that time suggest even with Magic's super-sized sexual prowess, he was still in a very, very small percentage…

…If anyone has any more information about who gave Magic Johnson HIV, please feel free to contact us. I think we can afford to pay more money for this now.

So much for the new age of 'quiet' outing.


  1. The Milkman says

    How dreadful. What a morally bankrupt, utterly insensitive, and ultimately banal endeavor.

  2. Abie says

    As if I needed reminding why I stopped reading Gawker.
    I can think of a few writers there who should be embarrassed to be associated with it.

  3. endo says

    What the hell happened to Gawker? They were never Pulitzer material to begin with, but at least they used to be, ya know, not an epic embarrassment.

    A few weeks ago they had a column titled “Exercise Machines are for Cripples.”

  4. QJ201 says

    because finding out who gave Magic HIV will solve the AIDS crisis in Black America.

  5. Nat says

    “What the hell happened to Gawker? They were never Pulitzer material to begin with, but at least they used to be, ya know, not an epic embarrassment.”

    I always thought they struck a balance between toothless commentary and being needlessly venomous. Lately, there seems to have been a qualitative drop, accompanied by an increased antipathy towards every subject they cover.

  6. Josh says

    I agree, this is very crass. Like, way over the line crass.

    Is who gave Paris Hilton herpes next?

  7. Fenrox says

    It’s all of Gawker media. Jezabel is an almost sexist blog against women, Kotaku is firmly in a few pockets and puts out CRAZY biased reviews. Deadspin is just gawker lite…

    They are the entitled, spoiled, douchy people that they once were made famous for vilifying.

  8. Paul R says

    Scummy. What’s the point? Nick, the founder of Gawker, contacted me once trying to get me to identify someone who I’d mentioned dating on this very site. It’s worse than paparazzi.

  9. says

    Isn’t this illegal? Revealing the HIV status of the individual that transmitted to Johnson. Unless that person steps forward themselves. Either way I smell a lawsuit.

  10. Fenrox says

    Actually that weekend guy that frequently misreports things here works for gawker. that makes a lot of sense.

  11. endo says

    “Is who gave Paris Hilton herpes next?”

    Wait, I actually think that would be pretty funny. LOL

  12. ratbastard says

    Very bad taste. Gawker has crossed the line. I wouldn’t put it past a British tabloid or the Inquirer though.

    From a statistical and scientific standpoint though, it’s unlikely Johnson got HIV from a female.

  13. Elsewhere says

    It’s all about the page views. Nick Denton seems to have turned Gawker into an electronic tabloid in an effort to make it pay.

  14. KP says

    This is just disgraceful – and in the end, why does it matter if he got it from a female or transexual. The way the article treats transexuals is very creepy – like they are some sort of sick fetish that only weirdos want to sleep with. Who cares – Magic Johnson still has HIV, which is a very serious disease no matter what people think.

  15. patrick says

    Gawker has become quite the hotbed for anti-gay commenters and articles. I was reading a piece written by one its writers and was shocked to see the casual use of the word “faggot”. There was no real reason for the usage, and no one seemed to care. Would they use the “n” word so breezily? Needless to say, i will never wallow in the filth at Gawker again, which is a good thing because their format and technical problems are legendary. Horrible people, just horrible.

  16. Michael says

    This was the purple polka dotted elephant in the room noone talked about. He caught it from having sex with a guy, or tranny maybe. You don’t catch it from topping, I should know. If u were able to catch it that way I would have it. Before u slam me, go find a true total top that has it or even go ask one.

  17. says

    On the one hand, I do think it’s important to challenge the narrative if Magic is lying in order to preserve his straight image. (I’d always heard he was connected to the late Jermaine “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off” Stewart in some way.)

    However, to offer a reward for who gave him HIV is beyond gross. COME ON!

  18. Lucas says

    Never reading Gawker again. Not that I’ve ever read it much to begin with. HIV is a private medical condition and NOBODY has any business “outing” whether or not you are HIV positive.. Disgusting. Isn’t this illegal? Can someone sue Gawker for this?

  19. BABH says

    @Michael: No need to spread misinformation. Of course you can be infected by topping. It’s just less likely than if you’re bottoming. If you don’t believe me, read the medical literature, which to my mind is a little more reliable than your anecdote.

    If you made a habit of topping positive men bareback, and you’re not infected, then lucky you. No need to encourage others to do anything so risky, especially now that infection rates are spiking again. Bottom line: use condoms, and get tested regularly.

  20. Jim says

    Magic is a sparkling positive star and leader in the community here in L.A., and who cares how he got HIV? He’s a great advocate for the HIV community as well, and doesn’t care if somebody is straight, gay, black, or white. We need more like him!

  21. Steve says

    A tranny hooker orgy at Eddie Murphy’s house? Damn, the 90’s must have been totally awesome.

  22. endo says

    Who is responsible for transmitting HIV to Magic Johnson? HE is, for not wearing a condom.

    Now pay up, betches!

  23. Rick says

    While I agree that this is pretty scuzzy on Gawker’s part, I am kind of puzzled by the reaction here.

    The reason I am puzzled is that so many of you seem so bloodthirsty in most instances when it comes to a celebrity pretending to be entirely heterosexual when he is not. And certainly it would be a huge revelation if one of the biggest names in the history of professional sports were revealed to be something other than purely heterosexual….and was lying about having been infected through sex with a woman in order to remain in the closet, when in fact he had been infected through sex with a man.

    Is the reason some of you are offended by this and not by other such attempts at outing of celebrities that he is HIV-positive? Given that he has his infection well under control, why does that make such a big difference?

    Just curious.

  24. anon says

    What I want to know is how he’s maintained his health, since he got the disease before major treatments were available. I suppose he caught it early. People were fully expecting him to die from the disease.

  25. endo says

    LOL! Knew it was a Rick post by the end of the first sentence.

    Never miss an opportunity to question and belittle gay folks. YOU GO, GURLFRIEND!!! (3 snaps up)

  26. Hollywood, CA says

    Dear Gawker, thanks for making me NEVER look at your site again. Truly low…

  27. says

    There’s all kinds of things whirling around here: the extra publicity the post engenders, the purple elephant in the room, the chances of catching HIV as a pure top. My initial reaction was being protective of Johnson. Now, there’s a million questions.

  28. Scott says

    One of the new “gay” writers at Gawker frequently posts crap that’s really enraging- one piece was about how bullying and harassment only makes one better ( odd point to make – there are many ways to build character and morals in kids without demeaning/harassing them) and then a post about how he slept around all Pride month…. Like if one practices safe sex-fine, do what all the straight guys do and f*ck someobe new each night but most of us don’t care to hear about your sexapades. Which were quite boring and reads as very narcissistic.

    Anyways, I still read Gawker – but they need to clean up their act.

  29. Icebloo says

    I don’t care about Magic Johnson or where/how he got infected. It’s none of my business. Knowing where/how he got infected is not going to affect my life at all.

  30. Cody says

    AJ Daulerio is a tool. Totally disrespectful.

    The person he contracted HIV from my very well be dead. I doubt (if it was a sex worker) that they had anywhere near enough money to pay for healthcare back then and they could have very well already had AIDS in the first place.

    Total lack of respect for the millions of people that have died because of this virus.

  31. Rick says

    Well, the only two responses I got were predictable personal attacks, so I guess he gets a pass because:

    a) HIV+ people always get a pass for being in the closet or

    b) He has been a good “ambassador” for HIV-infection (and/or a “good liberal” and “good Democrat”), which lets him off the hook for being closeted, or

    c) He is too valuable as “proof” that HIV/AIDS is not a “gay disease” and his propaganda value would be compromised if it were discovered that he had, in fact, gotten infected through same-sex interaction rather than contacting the virus from vaginal intercourse….so for that reason, any attempt to “out” him should be abandoned.

    Does that about cover it?

  32. TANK says

    Magic is 100% straight! He didn’t get HIV by having sex with men… he got it by having sex with some woman. And it was just a coincidence that he married his long lost “high school sweetheart” Cookie just a few weeks before making his public announcement back in 1991. Magic has always been 100% heterosexual… he even said so on the Arsenio Hall show and everyone applauded! His exact words were, “As you know, Arsenio, I’m VERY heterosexual…” Anyone who denies these facts is trying to tear down Magic, because if these facts are not so, then Magic is a dishonest, self-hating gay person.

  33. endo says


    d) No one here likes you nor takes you seriously, so no one can be bothered to write a serious response to you.

    THAT covers it.

  34. Brandon K. Thorp says


    Sorry — I haven’t written for Gawker in almost a year. I authored maybe half a dozen posts for them, but the only reason we teamed up at all was a scoop I had about the takeover of a Catholic Archdiocese by a literal gay mafia. (The resulting story was called “The Catholic Church’s Secret Gay Cabal.” I didn’t write the headline.) Sexual hypocrisy has always been one of my beats, and I thought the story was important. Alas, it was too sleazy to go in a more, ahem, morally upright publication. I’m pleased it was published somewhere.

    As to the offering of money to find out about Magic’s sexual partners — gross, immoral, cruel. I’m a little curious about what in my work at Towleroad has made you think I’d feel differently.

    – BKT

  35. marc says

    I think it’s a legitimate question. I never believed he contracted the disease from a woman.

  36. JoeThePimpernel says

    Magic sent one of his hoes to set up Donald Sterling so his syndicate could snap up the Clippers at a discount. I think he needs some recognition for this. And if he’s exposed as a part-time homo, so much the better.