Johnny Weir Calls LGBT Activists ’Idiots’
Openly gay Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir defended his anti-boycott views about the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics during a heated discussion at Barnard College in New York City on December 2, calling some activists "idiots" for their tactics, and then later apologizing.
In an article in Vocativ, Weir spoke of the Olympics as "not the place to make a political statement" and castigated protesters as "idiots like the ones outside tonight, dumping vodka in the street."
In June, Russia implemented a law that bans any pro-gay statement or expression to minors, bars adoption of Russian children to anyone living in an area that permits same-sex marriage, and has proposed legislation that allows the government to remove children from gay households.
But according to Andy Humm of Gay City News, Weir, a self-described Russophile whose husband Victor Weir-Vornov is of Russian descent, flippantly characterized the law as "no anal sex in front of libraries."
"I’ve never had a bad experience in Russia," he said in Vocativ, " I’ve not gotten called a fag or been beaten up,". This, however, is something which has been occurring systematically to many others since the law was passed. "I only see the rosy, golden side. I choose to see Russia in an arrogant, selfish way. I didn’t know what to think about the new law."
But protestors accused Weir of being part of an NBC disinformation campaign to minimize the law’s effect on LGBT Russians, in order to justify the Olympic Games.
"NBC has had the openly gay Johnny Weir, a former figure skater, and Thomas Roberts, the openly gay MSNBC anchor, make public comments that suggest that Russia’s anti-gay laws are not harming LGBT Russians," said Duncan Osborne, a member of Queer Nation, in a recent article on Queer Russia. "But those laws have led to the arrest and imprisonment of LGBT Russians, and have resulted in de facto state-sanctioned beatings, torture, rape, and murder of Russian lesbians and gay men. NBC should stop deceiving the public and tell the truth."
But Weir said that boycotting the Games would punish the athletes who had trained years for it, and would make things worse for Russian gays after the Olympics were through.
Regardless, Humm pressed Weir to apologize for calling the activists "idiots," saying that they were the folks who won his right to get married.
Weir apologized again on Dec. 3 in the Falls Church News Press, writing, "I allowed my own fear and emotion to get the better of me and for a moment I became a hypocrite," adding that, "My stance of being pro-athlete before being pro-gay has ruffled so many feathers and it becomes difficult to speak publicly because of this fight."