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Author demands
antigay group pull "fraudulent" video

Author demands
antigay group pull "fraudulent" video

American Family Association's "ex-gay" video denounced by gay author Wayne Besen

Out author Wayne Besen is demanding that the antigay group American Family Association stop promoting and selling a video featuring a man who claims he has been "cured" of homosexuality who has since been dumped as a spokesman for the group for continuing to have sex with men. The video, It's Not Gay, features Michael Johnston, who once said he had been "cured" his homosexuality through the "power of Jesus Christ." Johnston, who is HIV-positive, stopped serving as a spokesman for so-called ex-gay groups in 2003 after reportedly continuing to meet men through the Internet and having unsafe sex with them.

After Johnston stepped down, AFA spokesman Buddy Smith called Johnston's continued sexual interest in men and possible exposure of others to HIV a "moral fall," but the organization is still promoting and selling the video featuring Johnston on its Web site, says Besen, author of the book Anything but Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth.

"The American Family Association is blatantly committing fraud by suggesting that Johnston is heterosexual, and they are promoting the spread of HIV by continuing to use him as a spokesperson," says Besen. "This episode suggests a stunning lack of integrity on the part of the American Family Association and utter contempt for the truth. If they have a shred of decency and morality, they will immediately stop selling the tape and apologize for their disgraceful behavior."

In 1998 a coalition of conservative religious groups launched a national print and television ad campaign preaching that gays can change. Johnston appeared with his mother, Frances Johnston, in a controversial print ad under the headline "From Innocence to AIDS." A similar television commercial appeared in 1998 as well; it was titled "Mom." Johnston also worked with Reverend Jerry Falwell and was the founder of National Coming Out of Homosexuality Day. (

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