Fact Check: Magic Johnson Did NOT Donate Blood To 'Help Underprivileged Communities Help Fight COVID-19' In This Video

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Magic Johnson Did NOT Donate Blood To 'Help Underprivileged Communities Help Fight COVID-19' In This Video Old Photo

Did former NBA star Earvin "Magic" Johnson donate some of his blood in August 2022 to the Red Cross to help underprivileged communities fight COVID-19? No, that's not true: The image of a doctor taking blood from Johnson's arm is from the 2012 PBS Frontline documentary "Endgame: AIDS in Black America." Johnson first learned of his HIV diagnosis after a routine physical ahead of the 1991-92 NBA season. He announced the development during a November 7, 1991, news conference.

The claim appeared in an Instagram post published by Best Celebrations on August 20, 2022, under the title "HE DONATED WHAT?!?" It opened:

Earlier today, NBA legend Magic Johnson donated some of his blood to the Red Cross to help underprivileged community to help fight COVID-19. 🐐 πŸ™Œ

This is what the post looked like on Instagram at the time of writing:

Insta post.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Mon Aug 22 15:26:59 2022 UTC)

The image of a physician, Dr. David Ho, an HIV/AIDS specialist, drawing blood from Johnson's arm can be found about 67 minutes into the documentary and also around the 1:30 mark in a trailer for the documentary posted to YouTube on June 29, 2012:

PBS youtube.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Mon Aug 22 16:19:01 2022 UTC

The Instagram post by Best Celebrations is a copy of a copy of a post that originated on the Cock Sources Instagram page, which bills itself as a place for "up-to-date ... reliable sports coverage," as well as a satire site, "Spreading false narratives with misinformation":

Cock sources.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Mon Aug 22 16:19:01 2022 UTC

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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