This is an official statement from an HBO spokesperson regarding the "Bleed for the Throne" campaign.
The "Bleed for the Throne" campaign is and has always been open to everyone. Knowing that FDA regulations may prohibit blood donation by some, we have created multiple ways for fans to interact with the campaign, including entry to the activation at SXSW and the season 8 premiere sweepstakes. While the SXSW activation filled up quickly, a standby line will be available while the activation is open. Those unable to donate blood in national blood drives can still enter the sweepstakes by contacting the Red Cross Donor Support Center with a request to be entered, along with their name, mailing address and a valid email. Inclusivity is a key HBO value, and we have long been supporters of the LGBTQ+ community.
Game of Thrones tried to do some good for the community, but it seems like the attempt has blown up in the show's face.
Reportedly Game Of Thrones is asking fans if they're ready to Bleed for the Throne, it's part of a new campaign with the American Red Cross, which encourages fans to donate blood in exchange for a limited edition Iron Throne T-shirt and a chance to attend the show's much anticipated season 8 world premiere.
But apparently, there's a catch. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, gay and bisexual men can't donate blood — so that means they can't enter the contest. It is being reported that the FDA's existing rules require gay and bisexual men to abstain from sexual activity for a full year before donating blood while women who have had sex with bisexual men within a year are also banned from donating.
Reportedly the agency enacted its strict eligibility guidelines in an effort to reduce the risk of transferring HIV via blood transfusion — restrictions date back to the AIDS crisis in 1983 — and it was only in 2015 that the FDA lifted its lifetime ban on accepting blood donations from gay men.
HBO is apparently calling this "the largest blood donation promotional effort by an entertainment company in American Red Cross history," but it now turns out that the network created a promotion that gay men are effectively banned from participating in. The policy is archaic. And the FDA should update its policies and guidelines since they are the organization that needs to be in the know. And we have to say that the FDA should be better informed than anyone on the transmission of HIV and its relation to gay people.
Apparently, the campaign is everywhere. And understandable, some fans from the LGBTQ+ community are not pleased with being excluded.
Reportedly HBO told The Daily Beast that the campaign is meant to help with the Red Cross' worldwide blood shortage, and it is simply following national regulations. The network also said that ineligible blood donors can still enter the sweepstakes by contacting the Red Cross Donor Support Center, although that information was not included in the campaign's initial marketing materials and social media posts.
It is being reported that the Bleed for the Throne campaign continues through March 12, with drives held in 43 states and nine colleges and universities in the U.S.