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3/24/2006

 
BET News Stirs Storm of Debate, Strong Messages About Sexual Conduct in Explosive Documentary on March 28

THE DOWN LOW EXPOSED Probes Secret World of Men Having Sex With Men While Masquerading as Heterosexuals in a Dangerous Gamble with Lives of Female Partners

Author Terry McMillan Makes Final Stand Over Gay Ex-Husband's Revelation

WASHINGTON, March 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Cowards ... sexual deviants ... liars ... murderers. And those are just the one-word bullets fired across the spectrum of opinions and emotions in THE DOWN LOW EXPOSED, a shocking documentary presented by BET News on Tuesday, March 28 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. This one-hour special traverses the backstreets, nightclubs, websites and even the sanctity of marriage where some Black men are leading 'double-lives' as heterosexuals with unsuspecting women; and then flipping the script in a dangerous duality of homosexual pursuits. The end result is confusion, anger, betrayal, tears, family destruction and, in some cases, the ultimate price of HIV and AIDS infections of the innocent and unknowing.

Atlanta-based author J. L. King first ignited the debate in 2004 with his controversial tell-all book entitled On the Down Low: A Journey into the Lives of "Straight" Black Men Who Sleep with Men. Since then, a firestorm has raged around the issue. Emotions were further fueled when the husband of best- selling author Terry McMillan broke his own silence by admitting to a secret gay lifestyle. These days, battle lines exist from the prisons to the pulpit.

"That's part of their problem -- they're cowards," said an emotionally- charged McMillan in what she proclaims is her final public interview on how her marriage to Jonathan Plummer unraveled. "I think that he (Plummer) should be charged with attempted murder for risking my life without my knowledge or consent ... I think that what you (BET) are doing should be applauded because I think more than anything there are women out there that are victims. And I think that we need to hold men accountable for their actions."

BET News will examine this divisive subject from a variety of important angles including sex among men in prison and its impact on the spread of HIV/AIDS; the "don't ask, don't tell" policy prevailing in the Black church; the sobering impact of HIV and AIDS on women infected by men who hid their homosexuality; and the crucial importance of being tested for HIV/AIDS. An encore showing of THE DOWN LOW EXPOSED is also scheduled for Friday, March 31 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

"The 'Down Low' is one of those subjects that fascinate people. There are e-mails circulating that accuse people; folks buy books and see lectures on the subject," said BET President of Entertainment Reginald Hudlin. "But with all that talk, people aren't learning what's really going on. With this special, we want to hear every point of view -- men who lead double-lives, their lovers, women who have been involved with them, church people, ex-cons, AIDS activists and regular folks on the street."

"There's a resoundingly loud and clear message here -- what you don't know may very well kill you," said Shirley Neal, President of Park Hill Entertainment and executive producer on the project for BET. "We've wrapped around this documentary an anthem of no more secrets, no more lies. This is not an issue to whisper about anymore. The emotions of those who feel victimized, as well as those who see this as a chosen lifestyle are completely unfiltered."

In addition to McMillan, J. L. King revisits his inflammatory book; discusses his own life in the aftermath; and takes part in an exclusive interview with his former wife Brenda Stone-Browder, who has remarried and started a new life. Noted Hollywood actor/producer/director Bill Duke also reveals the intense motivation behind his upcoming feature film Invisible, which further unmasks the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the 'down low' issue and the accompanying cross-cultural taboos that have shielded it from view.

"If you think this is a Black issue, you are very mistaken," said Duke. "AIDS is not a Black issue. AIDS is an issue that's going to impact everybody, everybody's sisters and daughters, everybody's families. And why we're not dealing with this in an emergency way is beyond me. I don't understand it, I really don't."

Others lending voice and context to the issue include Dr. Gail Wyatt, clinical psychologist, sex therapist and professor at UCLA; Phill Wilson, Executive Director of the Black AIDS Institute; and Pastor Oliver Clay Allen, openly gay minister of the Vision Church of Atlanta.

BET NEWS SPECIAL - THE DOWN LOW EXPOSED

PREMIERE: Tuesday, March 28 @ 10 p.m. ET/PT (One Hour)
(Encore Telecast - Friday, March 31 @ 10 p.m.
ET/PT)

CONTENT RATING: TV-MA (Mature Audience) - This program includes
material that may not be suitable for children
under age 17. It contains one or more of the
following: graphic violence (V), explicit
sexual content (S), or profane language (L).

BET EXECUTIVES IN CHARGE: Reginald Hudlin, President of Entertainment
Nina Henderson Moore, Executive Vice President
- News & Public Affairs
Byron Phillips, Executive Vice President of
Entertainment

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Shirley Neal, Park Hill Entertainment
J.L. King
Selwyn Hinds, BET

CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Courtney Carreras
Curvel Baptiste

CONSULTING PRODUCER: Nelson George

ABOUT BET NETWORKS

BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom, Inc. (NYSE: VIA; VIA.B), is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 80 million households according to Nielsen media research, and can be seen in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of businesses extensions: BET.com, the Number 1 Internet portal for African Americans; BET Digital Networks - BET J, BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Event Productions, a full-scale event management and production company; BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; and BET Mobile, a service venture into the lucrative world of ring tones, games and video content for wireless devices.

ABOUT PARK HILL ENTERTAINMENT

From non-fiction programming to live events, Park Hill Entertainment's impressive credentials include non-fiction programming for The Travel Channel, Spike TV, CBS, NBC Enterprises, TV One, and other cable, network, and syndication outlets. Park Hill was established in 1992 as a video production and promotions firm specializing in broadcast production, live event production and video promotions. At the helm of Park Hill is President/Owner, Shirley Neal, a veteran producer and former production and marketing executive with over 20 years of experience in the fields of television production and promotions.

Source: BET (Black Entertainment Television)

CONTACT: Michael Lewellen of BET, +1-202-608-2003,
michael.lewellen@bet.net

Web site: http://www.bet.com/




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