HBO partnered with the American Red Cross on a blood donation campaign, the winner of which gets to attend the Season 8 Game of Thrones premiere. The problem? Per FDA regulation, men looking to donate must not have had sexual contact with another man in the past 12 months — effectively excluding many gay and bisexual men from the contest.
HBO and the Red Cross issued a joint statement saying their immersive "Bleed for the Throne" event at SXSW, which kicks off the contest, is open to those who cannot donate blood if they are willing to wait in a standby line. Those who can’t donate in the national blood drive can still enter the contest by contacting the Red Cross Donor Support Center.
However, these alternatives were not included in press materials, and both organizations refused to say where (if at all) they publicized them. Plus, participants who enter without donating do not receive the limited edition blood-splattered Iron Throne t-shirt that donors do.
For many, this was a spark to talk about the larger issue surrounding the exclusion: the FDA's outdated and fear-based regulations.
Of note, the Red Cross is currently facing a major blood shortage.
[HBO and the American Red Cross tweet advertising the contest]