Hit HBO show Game of Thrones is under fire after a blood drive in Austin, Texas, was criticized for not being inclusive to queer men.
HBO teamed with American Red Cross to launch ‘Bleed for the Throne.’
The blood drive and immersive experience is currently held at the South by Southwest conference & Festivals from 7-9 March.
However some GoT fans pointed out gay and bisexual man are still banned from donating blood in the US state.
What’s the problem?
The initiative sees those who donate blood receive limited-edition t-shirts.
Moreover, those who donate before 17 March will be entered into a sweepstake to win one of five trips to the season eight premier in New York City.
But the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) provides guidelines for blood donations in the US.
It recommends men who have sex with men must ‘defer for 12 months from the most recent sexual contact’ until they donate blood.
Furthermore, this is followed by Red Cross’ regulations.
As a result, one Twitter user noted: ‘While cool for GoT fans, a reminder that this whole initiative and contest discriminates against gay and bi men.
They are ‘banned from donating blood for bigoted, discriminatory reasons.’
‘Open to everyone’
Yet a HB0 spokesperosn told Gay Star News: ‘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.’
At what cost?
This is not the only time the American Red Cross has come under fire.
When the organization announced last year it was critically running short of donations, many LGBTI people blasted its regulations.
One user tweeted: ‘You can do better, red cross. I hope my queer blood saves someone’s life.’