Making Us Sick

Rush Limbaugh’s guest host blames the gays for COVID-19 lockdown

Mark Styen. Via Twitter

With Rush Limbaugh out of commission due to a “pre-scheduled treatment,” right-wing gasbag Mark Steyn wasted no time in continuing Limbaugh’s long history of homophobia.

Styen filled in for Limbaugh for the March 17 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show. During the broadcast, he made the ugly (and false) statement that San Francisco had gone on lockdown to prevent “all the gays dropping dead on the San Francisco mayor’s watch.”

London Breed, Mayor of San Francisco, placed the entire city on 24-hour curfew on Monday. Residents may only leave home to go to the grocery store or for medical appointments.

Related: LGBTQ groups demand Congress do more to protect HIV+ people from threat of COVID-19

Styen blamed the lockdown on San Francisco’s gay population. “It’s a big gay town,” he said, “San Francisco, and they’re the ones with all the compromised immune systems from all the protease inhibitors and all the other stuff. And they don’t want all the gays dropping dead on the San Francisco mayor’s watch. So that’s why they’ve got all that sheltering in place there.”

“And even if it dropped, they all dropped dead on the San Francisco mayor’s watch,” Steyn continued, “if there was a big gay apocalypse, you know, the way this thing is going now, it would be Trump who would get blamed for it anyway. He’d be — it would be his homophobia that would have struck down all these people in San Francisco. So that’s why they’ve all been ordered to stay home. And it’s not easy staying home.”

Styen’s remarks allude to HIV, and insinuates that HIV+ people are at higher risk for the coronavirus. His remarks somewhat mischaracterize data that identifies immunocompromized people as being at higher-risk for COVID-19 infection. For the record, that doesn’t automatically mean HIV+ people are at higher risk; rather, HIV+ individuals who are not getting treatment for the virus are at higher risk. Therefore, Steyn’s remarks are patently false. Furthermore, he overlooks the fact that the inaction and disorganized response by the Trump administration has largely been responsible for the chaos and misinformation surrounding the outbreak of COVID-19

Styen’s homophobic remarks will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with his rhetoric. Earlier this year, he frequently targeted Democratic Presidential Candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg with homophobic remarks.