Advocacy Groups Protest Cirque du Soleil's Firing of HIV-Positive Gymnast
November 21, 2003
Gymnast Matthew Cusick and members of some San Francisco-area advocacy groups, including the Stop AIDS Project and the Horizons Foundation, on Thursday night planned to hold a demonstration in front of Cirque du Soleil's tent in San Francisco to protest the circus troupe's firing of Cusick because of his HIV-positive status, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Hua, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/20). Cusick said that he disclosed the fact that he is HIV-positive to the company shortly after being hired in July 2002. He underwent several medical evaluations and was found to be in good health and considered fully able to perform with Cirque. However, shortly before he was to begin performing in the company's Las Vegas show "Mystere," Cirque sent him a letter terminating his employment stating that his HIV-positive status "will likely pose a direct threat of harm to others, particularly in the case of future injury" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/17). Cirque said in a public statement, "We believed the risk of exposing fellow artists, technicians and/or spectators to HIV as a consequence of injurious physical contact was too great" (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/20).
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2003 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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