Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, speaking at a party dinner on Friday when he decided to open with a joke. Unfortunately, he decided to open with a completely unfunny and offensive joke about AIDS, and how he doesn't have it.
The Bilerico Project's Bil Browning was liveblogging the entire event, when Bayh decided to tickle everyone's funnybone, and got it all on video:
So I'm walking through the airport and people were kinda being nice and making eye contact and a couple come up and say hello. This one person runs up all excited and I'm prepared to say "Hello," and he says, "Senator Bayh! Senator Bayh!"
I said "Well, yes?" and he looked at me and said, "Do you have AIDS?"
I said, "Huh?"
He said, "Yeah. Do you have AIDS?"
I was dumbfounded. I didn't know what to say.
He said, "I've got a letter I want to give you, do you have someone I can hand this to? Do you have an aide with you?"
So you never know what people are going to say.
No shit, you really don't. The Indiana Stonewall Democrats walked out of the speech, offended.
Why were they offended? Well, let's think why Bayh thought it was funny: it's predicated on the idea that someone like Evan Bayh couldn't possibly have AIDS. And although we can all think of at least one former Senator with boyish good looks that was porking his mistress sans barrier protection (cough, John Edwards, cough) and despite the fact that unprotected penetrative sex outside of testing-assured monogamy tend to be the way that most people contract HIV, the idea that a heterosexual white dude in a suit might have it is just so funny. In other words: HIV-AIDS is not a disease that straight white people get, and people who have it are bad. Ha-ha. Did we learn nothing from the eighties and early nineties?
Even better, Browning asked Bayh for an explanation, and boy did he get one.
No. Look, I've voted for AIDS funding and all sorts of things. And I've been for all sorts of things in terms of equality and lifestyle and that sort of thing. I'm sorry they took offense to that. It was certainly not intended.
Basically, he voted for AIDS funding and supports "equality" (though, notably, not marriage equality) and their "lifestyle," so he's entitled to make AIDS jokes.
Maybe he thinks the joke was his cookie?
Video: Senator Evan Bayh's AIDS Joke [Bilerico Project]
Related: An Answer From Bayh? No, Not Really. [Bilerico Project]