Radio host who said monkeypox is ‘the big gay disease’ claims he was just ‘warning’ LGBTQ+ people

Kyle Sandiland appears on his radio show after making comments about monkeypox

Australian radio host Kyle Sandilands defended his comments calling monkeypox the “big gay disease”, claiming he was “giving the gays the warning”.

Sandilands faced immense backlash after he talked about monkeypox on his KIIS FM show Kyle and Jackie O on 23 August when he described the virus as the “big gay disease floating around”

He also said “only the gays” are contracting monkeypox, which is incorrect as multiple health officials have stated anyone can get the virus.

Sydney Morning Herald journalist Andrew Hornery described in a column how the radio host reached a “new low” with the hateful comments. Hornery was recently under fire in June after the newspaper planned to run a story on Rebel Wilson’s queer relationship before she could address it on her terms. 

Sandilands hit back at Hornery’s comments and said the Sydney Morning Herald “tried to rubbish [him] and edited what [he] said to make out that [he] was a gay-hater”, 7 News reported.

“Andrew Hornery trying to pass the hot tomato… because all the gays hate him, remember because of the Rebel Wilson outing and he’s trying to throw the blame on to me because I dared let all the gays know ‘watch out for the moneypox’,” Sandilands said. 

He continued: “I didn’t even say anything bad about the gays.

“The gays are getting the monkeypox. It was a warning. 

“No one else is giving the gays the warning.”

Kyle Sandiland wears a dark outfit and hat as he stands in front of white background

Kyle Sandiland says he got backlash because he “dared let all the gays know ‘watch out for the moneypox’”. (Hanna Lassen/WireImage)

Openly gay newsreader Brooklyn Ross interjected that the health community said that “not enough media was reporting on monkeypox being the gay virus”. 

To which, Sandilands claimed media outlets are now “all so woke” that they “didn’t want to offend anyone”. He added: “Heads up gays, watch out for this huge disease.”

While monkeypox has disproportionately affected queer men, it isn’t exclusive to people within the LGBTQ+ community. 

The UN warned some reporting on monkeypox could “reinforce homophobic and racist stereotypes and exacerbate stigma”. Other health experts said the discourse around the virus could easily become “homophobic” and explained there’s a “huge risk of stigma” towards LGBTQ+ people.

The World Health Organization has also warned that “stigma and discrimination can be as dangerous as any virus”.

Sandilands’ comments about monkeypox were slammed as “hurtful” and “deeply unhelpful” by the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations. 

Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton denounced Sandilands on Twitter and said the radio host should “maybe keep quiet” if he “can’t say something constructive”. 

Audio company ARN management said in a statement that Sandilands is “renowned for his colourful vernacular”. The company said it appreciated that “those unaccustomed to his expressions may consider the content opinionated” and said the “range of topics” on the show isn’t to “everyone’s tastes”.