Russian ‘Spokesperson’ Johnny Weir Tells Gay Olympic Athletes to Tone Down the Flamboyance or Suffer the Consequences

Figure skater Johnny Weir is a self-described 'Russophile' so the country's proposed ban on gay "propaganda" (already passed in St. Petersburg) won't stop him from competing in the Sochi Winter Olympics, but he's warning other gay athletes not to do certain things or suffer the consequences, USA Today reports:

WeirIf he makes the Olympic team, Weir doesn't want to make an issue of his sexuality, he said. For him, the Olympics should be about sport and competition. But he does have advice for gay athletes unfamiliar with the culture.

"My advice would be: Watch what you do when you leave the Village, don't be aggressive, don't wear a big rainbow flag fur coat. If you don't call attention to yourself, attention won't come to you."

Then Weir added, in a way only he can, "I'm not going to be having sex in a Metro station. And if you are doing that, then maybe you deserve to be caught."

Added Weir: "I love Russia and there is nothing that will change that. I'm a true patriot and spokesperson for their country. It's appalling they can censor their public, but I try to do everything I can. I have been in talks with different LBGT organizations in Russia with how I can help."

Out speed skater Blake Skjellerup is more hesitant: "I don't want to have to tone myself down about who I am. That wasn't very fun and there's no way I'm going back in the closet. I just want to be myself and I hate to think that being myself would get me in trouble."

St. Petersburg's restrictive law bans and impose fines ($16,000 on individuals and up to $160,000 on legal entities) on all Gay Pride events, LGBT organizations, and anything considered to be "promotion" of homosexuality.

The federal law, if passed, would enact similar penalties.


  1. Mike in nyc says

    I enjoy a backward corrupt violent country of vulgar gangsters
    and whorishly dressed women as much as the next guy.

    However, it’s a little creepy to hear this lap dog say people they deserve a violent response for kissing their partner in public.

    Having traveled all over the world, I must say no where is more depressing and more soul draining than spending a day in that barbaric dump of a nation.

  2. says

    “Don’t call attention to yourself”.

    WTF ?
    Seriously ?
    All the struggle, the losing ones we love, the expulsion by our families, the pain of trans-national relationships who can’t marry, the endless question by immigration officers, the kids bullied in the play yard…….maybe we were all wrong to call attention to ourselves.

    OK; I’m heading back into the closet. Thanks.

  3. hugo says

    But what will Johnny say when authorities arrest him for his skating routine? Several of those could easily be classified as ‘gay propaganda’. Will he still defend a country that arrests him for just being himself?

  4. Stefan says

    Johnny has made a lot of money off exhibitions in Russia and his biggest fan bases outside the U.S. are in Japan and Russia. His spouse is of Russian Jewish descent. But loving some foreign country is no excuse for tacitly accepting their laws. Yes, it would be stupid to have sex in a metro station in Russia (or in most places, due to public decency laws), but the propaganda laws in Russia are much more pernicious than that. They could even be construed to allow legally putting him in jail for being a married gay man putting on a public performance, if he made the Olympic team.

    I’m disheartened that he hasn’t used whatever small leverage he has as a celebrity to be outspoken for the rights of others. I doubt it does Russian LGBT groups any favors to have someone stupidly capitulate to the propaganda laws in a public statement.

  5. nico says

    what is the problem? this sounds like sensible, reasonable advice for a very specific situation. It’s not supposed to be a philosophical meditation on the closet.

  6. JoelD says

    People are complex, I get that. But Weir would do more FOR Russia if he boycotted the games due to the increasingly repressive government and social stance against the LGBT. I’m a Russophile myself, and am saddened and frustrated that I must “present” in a certain way (i.e. steadfastly str8 and unacknowledging of LGBT issues despite being out an in a long term, parenting relationship) to gain acceptance among Russians I know.

  7. czchu says

    Does’t this line of logic sound awfully familiar? Hmmm I wonder from where I’ve heard it before?

    “I’m gay, but I’m also Christian. I have my faith and I’m not apologising for it. So all you gays whom are prosecuted, discriminated against, and victimised by the pious, you’ve only got yourself to blame for wearing a rainbow coloured fur coat.”

  8. RMc says

    Wow. I respected him as an artist and skater but now I have no respect for him as a person. Coward. I almost hope he gets arrested just for being there, as if nobody knows he is gay. And how “nice” of his husband to go along with not being allowed to cheer on his man openly if he won because of a disgusting anti-freedom Fascist country repeating the sins of Adolf Hitler. COWARD!!!

  9. Jack M says

    I think he’s just trying to give advice to athletes to make sure they are not arrested and thrown in jail, and/or subjected to violence. This would really apply to anyone while in any homophobic country.

  10. Ryansson says

    This is the gay version of ‘she wore a short skirt, so she was asking to be attacked’ line. He’s funny, but he’s not especially insightful, sadly.

  11. Matt says

    In order for Weir to compete at Sochi he would have to win a spot on the US team. Since he took 2 years off from competition after the last Olympics and has recently withdrawn from competition again this year, his qualifying looks extremely unlikely barring a miracle. But, y’know, cute shrug.

  12. says

    The best thing for civil rights would be for a whole bunch of gay athletes to be arrested and thrown in jail for kissing or showing PDA’s.There would be an outcry in the west denouncing the fascist anti-gays laws introduced in Russia.
    And remember Pussy Riot are still in jail, for phuck’s sake.

    The advice should be; stand up for yourself; remember that we are proud ( hint: the Pride Parades),
    show gay affection in public, our Russian Brothers and Sisters need the support of us showing that gay is good; be out, not intimidated by fear.
    Haven’t we had enough of this BS ?
    Fight back, for phuck’s sake !

    There are young kids in Russian schools right now with hearts broken with pain because they are afraid they might be gay and thereby outcasts and despised.
    And we as adults are going to cower ?
    What kind of example is this clown advocating ?

    Now, all of you, get out your Pink Triangles and get them on !

  13. BobN says

    “I have been in talks with different LBGT organizations in Russia with how I can help.”

    Have they suggested you just STFU?

  14. Opinionated says

    This is practical advise for a country in which individual freedoms of a variety of kinds are easily and often thrown out in favor of security and stability. The Russian sense of “Freedom” as always been backwards and slow paced.

  15. Qj201 says

    You all missed JW’s point:

    I’m a big flaming queer and they all know it in Russia and they give me a pass…however other gays may not be so fortunate.

  16. Fensox says

    I will wait to pass judgement here. First, he isn’t mired in this new reality yet. Second, I feel anyone can see that being quiet and taking it in that situation won’t get you anything worthwhile.

    Maybe he is setting up some kind of gay underground. Russia is making some really scarey choices here and anyone stuck in the middle is going to have to be super careful.

    Personally, I hope he uses his celebrity to undermine this thing. Maybe actup and tank the olympics!

  17. mcNnyc says

    Johnny is A neutered bedazzled lap poodle.
    And luckily he won’t be competing in Sochi unless perhaps the synchronized skating is co-ed.

  18. Indigo Celeste (@IndigoCeleste) says

    Really, Johnny Weir? Other gay athletes need to tone down the flamboyance? Seriously? Seriously.

  19. Bill says

    Indigo Celeste: I took his comment about toning it down to be satire given his own flamboyance.

    As to the Russians, they are used to suffering. Given their history, they expect it and make sure that nobody living there will be disappointed in being left out of the national experience.

    Try the following: – supposedly a full production of Khovanshchina – and if you go through all the segments to the end, you’ll see the Old Believers burning themselves to death for the sake of religious fanaticism (last scene) with operatic staging, of course, so nothing gory. If you don’t like opera, sitting through all five acts will give you an idea of how interminable Russian suffering is.

    Curiously, Mussorgsky wrote it in St. Petersburg.

  20. DC Arnold says

    Please Please Skating officials spare us the sight of this waste of gay space. I liked JW more when he said nothing and was crashing down on the ice more than hoisting medals.

  21. says

    being flamboyant shouldn’t ever be something worth getting threatened over, or kicked out. It just goes to show how unhealthy societal machismo attitudes can be..and how there’s n rational behind it. What makes a flamboyant man less worthy of respect than a alpha man? how do you define character between those two traits?

  22. Markus Melord says

    Many gays are naturally, inherently feminine. I know I am. I HATE the expression ‘tone it down’…tone what down? My personality? my likes? the way I naturally walk? Why doesn’t anyone tell a hyper masculine guy to tone down his mannerisms? I’m not an obnoxious person, but I certainly am feminine. Those are two separate things, and one is innate and can’t be changed

  23. Steve-ATL says

    of all the horrible things to be in being flamboyant any worse than being the many other things non flamboyant men can be? like arrogant, greedy, mean, ruthless, shady…those are characteristics worth telling people to tone down. Not what outfit they like to wear.

  24. Jim says

    this kid flashes his flamboyance everywhere yet tells people to tone it down if they are flamboyant. He has used playing the gay card to his benefit and wouldnt be anywhere without his own gayness, yet says he resents having to do any work for the gay community. He says he’s a really good person in one interview, then says if it were legal, he’d hunt down every animal and wear it as fashion.
    he’s a vile disgusting nasty creep! go away johnny. and another’re old now! you’re little act you did for 8 years of being sassy and cute looks creepy on a 30 year old.

  25. anony6 says

    Wow, Johnny Weir managed to intertwine the pride flag, public sex, aggressive homosexuals, and “not making an issue of sexuality”….hmmmm… Where have I heard this before?

  26. Rd says

    The people on here that are ‘calling out’ JW and saying people should protest with public displays of affection are frightening to me… Do they not realize that in different countries there are different rules..? The only good advise/ call/ in this feed was to say that JW should loudly boycott the games.. Yes, JW is a flamer, but I read a gay man’s genuine concern for other gay athletes entering a strange land with different customs and beliefs.. Geesh!