Looking actor Daniel Franzese publicly threw his support behind Danny Pintauro after his public reveal of his HIV status and past meth use, slamming Pintauro’s media critics, both straight and LGBT, for hypocritical and insensitive comments.
Franzese wrote a column for Attitude on the media firestorm surrounding Pintauro, lambasting interviewers on their incorrect HIV terminology and invasive personal questions, like questions from Candace Cameron Bure and Raven Symone on The View, and expressed disappointment regarding pious comments made by LGBT media and leaders on how they felt Pintauro should’ve treated the reveal of his HIV status:
“First people jump on The View hosts for shaming Danny, then some LGBT thought leaders direct their feelings of anger and disappointment at Danny himself. My beef is that these leaders write about ending stigma, but instead of writing a private note to Danny offering to advise him, they instead criticize him publicly. Why would anyone with HIV want to come out publicly if that is the consequence?
“Yet LGBT leaders agree that only if more and more people come out publicly with their status will stigma be reduced. Publishing open letters, posting on his Facebook, tweeting about him, blogging—whatever the method, I don’t think any of this is constructive in fighting HIV stigma. Danny is being publicly shamed by some of the people he is trying to be a voice for.
“Daniel Pintauro has committed himself to being a beacon of light in the dark world of meth use, and is willing to speak openly and honestly about his HIV status. For this he should be commended. I urge us all to think before we criticize someone who has good intentions and who gives a voice to an underrepresented community.”
Franzese explained that he met Pintauro back when he was a bouncer at a nightclub and later became casual friends. Pintauro revealed his status to Franzese, an ambassador for the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF), before going public; Franzese briefed him on the “GLAAD Playbook,” on publicly discussing HIV and AIDS and planned to connect him with ETAF to receive proper media training and guidance to become an activist.