Some time ago, we covered the story of Cirque du Soleil and its alleged discrimination against HIV-positive gymnast. Here is an update on the situation from Aaron Baldwin, who has been involved in the protests against the theatrical circus and its treatment of his friend, Matt Cusick
It may be of interest to the LGBT community, and the public in general, to hear how Cirque du Soleil international tour sponsor and major LGBT corporate advocate IBM weighs in on the whole Matthew Cusick termination case.
IBM was one of the first large multinational companies to take a global leadership position on HIV/AIDS. Elements of the workplace programs IBM implemented include:
- A position statement pledging that employees with HIV/AIDS would be treated in the same manner as employees with any chronic disease (issued in 18 years ago in 1985).
- A three-point strategic framework for IBM’s response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, committing the company to provide assistance to employees affected by HIV/AIDS, accelerate education programs aimed at HIV/AIDS prevention, and support external programs to control and cure AIDS (endorsed in 1987).
- A briefing on HIV/AIDS for its 22,000 managers.
- A comprehensive employee education program to convey information about HIV/AIDS to IBM staff.
- A videotape on HIV/AIDS available for employees’ home use.
Aaron E. Baldwin
Cirque du Soleil Protest Organizer – San Francisco & London
It is an activist’s job to be informed. Download and read IBM’s HIV policy in its entirety. Then ponder the notion of strange bedfellows.