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Friday, May 20, 2011

SF Politicians Criticize NY Post Story on Alleged Strauss-Kahn Rape Victim's HIV Status

Posted By on Fri, May 20, 2011 at 4:40 PM

click to enlarge Dominique Strauss-Kahn
  • Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Every once in a while, San Francisco politicians surprise you. The Board of Supervisors is justly acknowledged for its symbolic gestures at the local level -- banning plastic bags, expressing support for cop killers, and the like. But the span of officialdom's tut-tutting at perceived wrongs is not limited to the San Francisco Peninsula.

Just yesterday, the city's Human Rights Commission wrote to the New York Post demanding that a story on the HIV status of Dominique Strauss-Kahn's alleged rape victim be retracted.

That's right: The saga of France's favorite rapey IMF chief is growing even more sensational. The Post reports that the victim, a chambermaid and West African immigrant, lives in housing in the Bronx dedicated exclusively to adults with HIV and AIDS. The tabloid conveys this news with a characteristically tasteful lede: "Dominique Strauss-Kahn may have more to worry about than a possible prison sentence."

The San Francisco HRC was not pleased at the Post's handling of the chambermaid's potential HIV-positive status. "The San Francisco Human Rights Commission is condemning and calling into question, your, the New York Post's, inflammatory and misleading coverage of the woman accusing Dominique Strauss-Kahn of [alleged] sexual assault," the commission's letter to the newspaper states. "We believe that the recent story represents a violation of her human rights... We find the speculation about her HIV status irrelevant to the criminal proceedings."

The letter states that the story "perpetuates HIV stigma."

So what does the commission want? Well, the letter asks that the Post "apologize" and "retract this story." We're sure that the editors at the Post are tripping over themselves in their efforts to meet these demands from the West Coast. The question is this: Can they accomplish the retraction and say sorry in the remaining 26 hours before the world ends?

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Peter Jamison


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