On Sunday, December 4th, the gay community lost an amazing soul that touched so many lives. Andrew Embiricos was a light, an energy, a person who you wanted be around, and a person we will never forget. Andrew was born in December 11, 1985 and went to Fordham University to receive his BS in Psychology in 2010. Like his mother was involved in the research at the Alzheimer’s Association and has been involved in fundraising initiatives for an HIV/AIDS awareness and research organization. On Tuesday, December 6th, OUT Magazine, owned by Here Networks, posted an article online regarding the death of Andrew. The article contained a headlining photo of Andrew more than half naked taken from a 2007 XTube account. It also headlined "Andrew Embiricos, who was HIV-positive and made amateur porn, may have committed suicide". Beside these unfathomable remarks and photos, the article also quoted Village Voice columnist Michael Musto as saying such things as "He battled HIV and had been in rehab to fight drug addictions." and "I'll tell you one thing, though: Andrew was extremely kinky. Isn't it possible that Andrew was experimenting with autoeroric asphyxiation? He tried far wilder things just for breakfast." All inappropriate and feeding a picture of those who did not know him as an HIV, drug addicted, excessively kinky, amateur porn star" Some friend Mr. Musto. As OUT put it, "The fatwas poured in thick and fast" and people who knew and didn't know Andrew wrote to them, posted on their wall, and demanded they remove the article...and they eventually did. OUT is not the enquirer and should not be quoting gossip columnists. Immediately after OUT removed the post, they posted this on their Facebook Page: "funny, all this talk about not being bullies. But then online commentators are the biggest bullies of them all. Right?" After calling his concerned friends and family bullies for demanding they remove the article, a Facebook post was received from Kirk "Murphy" Pacheco from the HR department at Here Networks stating "Brian, I want to personally thank you for your words yesterday. We heard and we listened." Did they? The next day, OUT's editors posted a "revised" article not only requoting Mr. Musto, but actually defending his words. They also claimed that people outraged wanted his death to be a suicide and were trying to stifle the HIV movement by concealing his status, and were ashamed by the possibility of a death due to a sexual cause...completely inaccurate! This is about respect, about honoring our own and recalling the wonderful things he did and was to our community. About focusing on the positive things he was, not painting a picture that merely interests readers who want a story with dirt and drama. Andrew is not here to defend himself so let's stop making assumptions and rehashing things about his life that many did not know, public or not, it serves NO PURPOSE and does not FOSTER productive conversation, but instead, fosters only gossip. Sign this petition to demand an apology from OUT Magazine and tell them to stick to real reporting on our community.
PLEASE PASS THIS ALONG TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE TO HELP STOP THIS TYPE OF JOURNALISM FROM OUT MAGAZINE!!