On January 1st Oprah Winfrey launched her highly anticipated OWN Network (Oprah Winfrey Network) in over 80 million households. The talk show diva promises to deliver inspiring, uplifting, and life-changing television in the vein of her successful daytime TV format 24 hours a day.
Oprah Behind The Scenes, a new show on OWN gives viewers an exclusive backstage look at the preparation involved to get the Oprah show on the air. Episode 102 features the follow up to the controversial 1987 show on AIDS in Williamson, West Virginia and the outrage from residents when Mike Sisco, a gay man living with AIDS took a swim in a public pool.
Co-Producer's Brian, an openly gay man and Jack who is straight debate whether or not they should give Williamson residents a second opportunity to spew anti-gay hatred.
Watch their segment here
The follow up show also featured former Williamson resident Eugene Thorn, a friend of Mike Sisco who is also gay and HIV positive. You may recall reading about Thorn on loldarian.com last September.
Thorn tells Oprah: " I didn't know what AIDS was at the time. I got to watch the show after it aired and I said he's gay and I'm like him but I'm not saying anything."
Many of the town's residents were aware of Thorn's sexual orientation prior to his national television appearance but almost no one outside of his immediate family & close friends knew about his HIV status.
"I'm HIV positive, undetectable, my family supports me and they love me and nobody frowns upon me," says Thorn. "I take my meds and I'm in great health."
Sadly, the return visit to WIlliamson by Oprah show producers found that attitudes regarding gay men and HIV/AIDS hasn't changed much since the 80's.
Oprah Behind The Scenes airs Fridays at 8/7 C.