The Controversy That Almost Ended Donna Summer’s Career

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When remembering Donna Summer we don’t think of controversy. In the mid 1980′s Donna Summer was in the prime of her career as a singer and entertainer. At the same time, a new disease called AIDS started to gain attention in the media as a new epidemic, which threatened society. Summer had allegedly made anti-gay remarks regarding the then-relatively new disease, which as a result had a significantly negative impact on her career. Thousands of her records were returned to her record company by angered fans because of her remarks. Summer, a born again Christian alleged to have said that AIDS was a punishment from God for the immoral lifestyles of homosexuals. In 1989 Summer wrote a letter to the AIDS campaign group ACT UP, denying she ever made any remarks disrespectful to the Gay community.

She said:

“the whole thing was a terrible misunderstanding. I was unknowingly protected by those around me from the bad press and hate letters … If I have caused you pain, forgive me.”

She later filed a lawsuit against New York magazine when it reprinted the rumors as fact just as she was about to release her album Mistaken Identity in 1991.

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