| Everyone was dying to have sex with Johnson(mandingo).|
Black or white who doesn’t like sex with a youth with a sculptured man’s body
“I am more into white guys, but I like black guys,” the student told BuzzFeed. He connected with Tiger because he was “gorgeous, he had great legs, and he was well-endowed.”
The student at Lindenwood University in the St. Louis suburb of St. Charles quickly recognized that in real life, Tiger Mandingo was also a student at his school: Michael Johnson, a recent transfer student on Lindenwood’s wrestling team. They hooked up later that month in Johnson’s dorm room, where, the student said, Johnson told him he was “clean.” He gave Johnson a blow job.
Johnson invited him to go out sometime, but the student got busy and “didn’t have time for that.” They didn’t hook up again until early October.
This time, they had anal sex without a condom. “I let him come in me,” the student said. He wanted bareback sex, he said, because Johnson was “huge,” “only my third black guy,” and — as he said Johnson told him yet again — “clean.”
The student said he has barebacked with multiple “friends and ex-boyfriends,” situations in which “we trusted each other. I mean, I don’t just let anybody do it.” Yet he also said he had bareback sex “with people I barely knew.” In those cases, he said, “I knew they were clean,” sometimes just “by looking at them.”
The student’s nonchalance changed when he described a call he got from Johnson a few days after their second hookup: “He calls me and he said, ‘I found out I have a disease.’ And I asked, ‘Is there a cure?’ and he said, ‘I don’t know.’ And I was like, ‘Are you fucking kidding me?’ I got pissed. I had asked him several times, and he’d said he was clean, and I trusted him! And I got mad at him, and then he got mad at me for getting mad, and then he said, ‘I gotta go.’”
That same day, Oct. 10, Johnson was pulled out of his class and led away in handcuffs by the St. Charles police. He was later charged with one count of “recklessly infecting another with HIV” and four counts of “attempting to recklessly infect another with HIV,” felonies in the state of Missouri.
Johnson has pleaded not guilty. His lawyer, public defender Heather Donovan, allowed BuzzFeed to interview Johnson in jail with her present, under the condition that he not answer questions about his case. Asked later to respond to a detailed list of points raised in this article, including whether Johnson always disclosed his HIV status or ever had intercourse without a condom after learning he had HIV, Donovan wrote that “neither Michael and I feel comfortable answering [BuzzFeed’s questions] at this time since his case is still pending.”
News of Johnson’s arrest, coupled with reports of more than 30 videotaped sexual encounters on Johnson’s laptop, rocked St. Charles and lit up local broadcasts and international headlines. It’s been erroneously reported that Johnson has also been charged for making the tapes, but he hasn’t. The videos, like the sex acts themselves, might have been consensual. Julie Vomund, spokeswoman for St. Charles Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar, wrote to BuzzFeed that the “St. Charles County Cyber Crime Unit is still working to fully review the videos to identify the people involved and at this time we have not determined if those on the video gave their consent to be filmed… there is still the possibility in the future to amend charges with additional counts.”
Lindenwood University urged anyone who’d had “intimate contact” with Johnson to get tested for HIV, and many did. The student Johnson had sex with went to St. Louis Effort for AIDS for an HIV test, which came back negative, as did subsequent tests. He didn’t press charges himself. Still, he said, “he infected someone with HIV. Without medication, that person could get AIDS, so he’s slowly killing someone. It’s a form of murder, in a sense. I hate to say it, since he’s a nice guy.”
With few exceptions, judgments around the internet concurred: Johnson was a predatory “monster” who was intentionally “spreading HIV/AIDS.” A typical comment on Instagram proclaimed him the “Worst type of homosexual: a strong one with HIV.” Overtly racist blogs, like Chimpmania.com, labeled him an “HIV Positive Buck.”
The only question more important than how Johnson became both a media flashpoint and morality tale is why. The nasty racial tone the story took is not surprising, given Johnson’s charged nickname, his white sex partners, and research in Tennessee that shows the law punishes black men more often (and more severely) for HIV-related sex crimes than it does white men.
Clearly, failing to tell one’s sexual partners that one has HIV is irresponsible and unethical. But even if that’s what Johnson did, he is hardly the only one keeping such information to himself. A 2004 article published in the medical journal Topics in HIV Medicine reviewed 15 studies on disclosure conducted over a dozen years in the United States. It found a wild variation in how often HIV-positive people disclose their status to partners, ranging from as much as 89% of the time to as little as 42%. A 2012 study published by AIDS Care found that 69% of HIV-positive gay men disclose their status to their sexual partners.
Then, too, many people with HIV simply don’t know they have the virus. In 2011, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that among young gay and bisexual men aged 18 to 24 who were infected with HIV, less than half knew that they had it. Johnson’s partners also carry responsibility, because relying on someone to say they are “clean” is a foolhardy strategy to avoid contracting the virus.
This is a message that a college — a place full of young and sexually experimenting students — needs to drive home, repeatedly. Yet, while Lindenwood University facilitated HIV testing, it conducted little education on how to avoid getting the AIDS virus in the first place.
Indeed, the community around Johnson — his sexual partners, many of his fellow students, and his university — turned a blind eye to HIV until it had the perfect scapegoat: a gay, hypersexual, black wrestler with learning disabilities who went by the nickname Tiger Mandingo.
But up until his status became known in a very dramatic way, Johnson’s body had been quite popular, for a myriad of uses, in that very community. As Carolyn Guild, the prevention director of St. Louis Effort for AIDS, put it, “Everyone wanted a piece of him, until he had HIV.”
In a small visitation room at the St. Charles County Department of Corrections, Johnson walked in wearing an orange jumpsuit but no handcuffs. He had a broad smile and an easy, gregarious manner. In person, he didn’t seem like the predator portrayed in the news.
But after seeing his own mugshot in the media, even Johnson admitted, “If I didn’t know that person, I knew I would be very shocked and scared.”
His mother, Tracy Johnson, told BuzzFeed, “This is not what his childhood friends, his brothers — the people who had a hand in raising him — wanted for him.”
Johnson was born in 1991 in Indianapolis. He is the youngest of his single mother’s five sons. He didn’t know his father. Both Johnson and his mother said that he has dyslexia and was enrolled in special education.
Johnson knew from a young age that his best shot for success was via his athletic body. While he flirted with other sports, he liked wrestling partially, he said, because unlike “a team sport, you can’t point the finger at another person … you can only point the finger at yourself.”
Sports was also an arena where his learning disabilities wouldn’t matter. By high school, Johnson dreamed of parlaying his successful wrestling career not just into a ticket to college, but to the Olympics and professional wrestling.
“I always identified as gay,” Johnson said, but “my mom wasn’t ready,” and she urged him to stay in the closet. (Johnson’s mother stressed to BuzzFeed that she was “afraid for him” if he were to tell people he was gay when he was “too young.”) Johnson added that his Christian “faith made me want to fight to be straight.”
And Johnson said he “wasn’t sure whether I would be accepted in the wrestling community” if he came out, given all the grinding and pinning of sweaty teen boys eager to prove their masculinity.
That’s because prosecutors have in their possession what they consider a smoking gun: On Jan. 7, 2013, Johnson signed a form like this one from the state of Missouri, acknowledging that he had been diagnosed with HIV. From this date forward, any time he had sex with someone without disclosing his HIV status, he would have been committing a felony.
But his mother, Tracy Johnson, said, “No one told him, ‘Before you sign this legal document, you need to get counsel. This is a legal document, and if you go against this legal document, you can be incarcerated,’ and be given years in the penitentiary if he is dishonest about his medical situation.”
Johnson’s defense could well come down to a case of “he said, he said,” as his mother put it, with “Tiger Mandingo” on trial against a bunch of white college students as to whether he said he was positive before they had sex. Johnson’s attorney wouldn’t comment on this, but his mother said he told her, “‘Mama, I told people I was HIV [positive] … and they wanted me anyway, because of who I am.’ So in a way he feels kind of used.”
It’s not a promising position for a semi-literate, poor defendant represented by a public defender. Johnson’s defense will be all the harder because, while the state has a signed statement from him, he doesn’t have signed statements from any of his sex partners saying they knew he was HIV positive.
This may sound preposterous, but it’s not unheard of in the era of laws that criminalize failing to inform sex partners that one has HIV. Aaron Laxton, a social worker and HIV activist in St. Louis who has the virus himself, said he knows positive people who do make such records. Some will ask their partners to sign a disclosure form like this one before they have sex; others, Laxton said, “will whip out their phone and record video of their partner” giving consent.
Laxton said he personally doesn’t need to take such steps. For one, “my status is well-known,” given that he’s totally open and has made a couple hundred YouTube videos about it. But Laxton bluntly admits that he has has a safeguard Johnson doesn’t.
A few words from the Publisher: When a guy is diagnosed the first thing that happens to him is denial. Acceptance should follow but how long it takes no body knows, is different on every person. On Michael Johnson it didn’t come right away. He asked the guy that gave it to him which is like asking the wind, if he was ok. Now being diagnosed himself others would asked Michael and he would give them the same answer that was given to him; At least this is what some of his sex partners say. The silliest thing is asking another guy if he is ok after you drop your pants. It happened to me and the answer was no. I trusted a condom and the word of this ex partner and if you were to ask all those thousand upon thousands that have contracted HIV they would say the same thing. I asked. Who did you asked? A guy that is in shock and in denial about such a private thing? Guys that are hot and are pursued it becomes an extra challenged. Even now that we have so much information and we have chemical ways to stay safe not just rubbers, still guys are asking and they will always get the same answer. To be rejected by a sex partner particularly if we know we are not going to transmit anything because of the information we poses: Prep, Undetectable viral load with adherence to anti retro viral drugs, which we know will keep our partner safe still when the moment comes to tell, is so hard! We expect the answer to be me too or is ok but we know that besides those two answers lays a rejection which can come with a “take care man” to we have to get together sometime.
I am not about to absorb the HIV person from the responsibility to tell, but how stupid can the other person be? But the danger does not really come from guys that have been tested and have come to know they are HIV. The danger comes from guys that don’t get tested or get tested once and think that is it for life. Many guys don’t get tested at all because they know what happens to them in a way of responsibility if they are found positive. Meanwhile while not being tested they can always say and they do, “I don’t have it.” So a don’t know I have not been tested becomes a “I don’t have it.” Those are the truths but the worse truth is when the criminal system intervenes because that makes the person who has not been tested someone who will not get tested. Why get tested and have the responsibility to tell or “I will go to jail for the rest of my life. “ To the HIV’r be warn and play it safe and to the one that thinks he is negative asking wont help. Getting informed of how safely you can have sex with anybody is smart and will keep you safe. There are many couples sexually active and one of the partners is HIV. It’s no mystery and is not something that will take anything from your sex lives.