US Skater Jeremy Abbott Compares Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws to Interior Decorating, Won’t Criticize

Like many athletes who may be headed to the Sochi 2014 Winter Games, US figure skater Jeremy Abbott is measuring his words, and says he doesn't want to be "rude" to the host country, Russia, even if he may not agree with its laws.

AbbottSays Abbott to the Denver Post:

"Russia is hosting us," Abbott said. "I'm not going to go into somebody's house and be like, 'Um, the way you decorate is hideous, and you need to completely redo this or I'm never coming back.' It's a little rude, so I don't want to say bad things about a country that's hosting the world, essentially.
"Maybe I don't agree with their policies, and maybe I don't agree with some things, but that's for them to sort out. My speaking out just makes me look like an ass."

Abbott adds that he's thankful there isn't a boycott:

"Thank God, being an athlete and having trained so long for this, I would just be crushed if that was taken away," Abbott said. "Pulling athletes out of a competitive event isn't going to solve some country's political disputes. It's only going to affect the athletes, and it's not going to do anything to change their policies or change the country or change the world."

Fellow figure skater Johnny Weir has said he plans to go and be himself:

"Like anyone I'm afraid of being arrested but also I'm not afraid of being arrested… If it takes me getting arrested for people to pay attention and for people to lobby against this law then I'm willing to take it."

Adding, "I respect the LGBT community full heartedly, but I implore the world not to boycott the Olympic Games because of Russia’s stance on LGBT rights or lack thereof. I beg the gay athletes not to forget their missions and fight for a chance to dazzle the world."


  1. Jellybean says

    Well, if you go into someone’s home and tell them you don’t like their decorating, you won’t get locked in the basement and have to give them money.

  2. Tre says

    When human rights are violated in such a demeaning, horrifying way, it is EVERYBODY’S duty to speak out.

  3. Tim says

    False comparison. No one is planning to critique Russia’s infrastructure.

    Would you visit someone, and discover that their children are being beaten up or tied down, and decide not to say anything because you don’t want to be rude?

    That is the relevant comparison.

  4. Wisebear says

    No dude, it’s like you walked into someone’s home and they were beating a teenager to death. Is it still rude to say or do something?

    Selfish moron.

  5. QJ201 says

    If you go to someone’s house and they say hateful things about your friends, and threaten to throw your friends out of their house, OF COURSE YOU HAVE TO STAY BECAUSE YOU’VE BEEN LOOKING FORWARD TO DINNER FOR SO LONG AND YOU’RE HUNGRY.

    I swear the stupid logic of this entire thing is disgusting.

  6. Moz's says

    exactly TIM


    One would hope he isn’t so dumb as to use such a false equivalency, but his training probably interfered with his education

  7. RaYmO6400 says

    Very true and good for them!They have worked extremely hard. Go and dazzle the world! All you men and women deserve to do so! My best wishes to you all!

  8. Yodabeesh says

    As long as Jeremy is straight while in Sochi, he’s perfectly fine! He can come out after the Olympics 😀

  9. Ian says

    So this is the basic attitude of NBC and Comcast as well, who cares about a minority group that is being horribly abused when there is opportunity for fame and LOTS of money involved!!! I won’t watch one minute of this garbage, and I hereby boycott NBC in perpetuity.

  10. chuck says

    …blood dripping from the living room curtains is no reason to rethink my host’s decorating scheme, or whatever he said.
    Big thoughts are hurting this boy’s brain as he spins, twirls and leaps his sequined path to Russia.

  11. Tom says

    I left a comment on the Facebook wall of his fan site and would encourage others to do so as well. If I walked into someone’s house and they were beating a minority you bet I would say something.

  12. ratbastard says

    I couldn’t be the only person to observe that many pro and Olympic athletes aren’t the brightest bulbs. Most seem pretty pedestrian if not downright dull witted.

    The guy is a highly trained athlete and this is what he’s has spent so much time and energy for. I can understand where he’s coming from. Is it selfish? Yes, but I’m not going to judge him that harshly.

  13. Rational says

    It’s all about the MONEY… he hopes for glory, gold, and a lot of endorsements…if the games are boycotted, he gets nothing. A little like looking up while stepping over the bodies at your feet, caring nothing for them, to get a paycheck.

  14. Rational says

    …and now his Facebook page says:
    HOUSE RULES: We reserve the right to take down inappropriate comments, pictures and videos, and uninvited ads. So whoever reads postings to him won’t even let him know that some are not pleased with his statements.

  15. James says

    What a selfish response, all these athletes care about is the pot of gold at the end of the olympics NOTHING ELSE, and will say anything to justify they’re actions. Its not about the sport anymore or repping for your country it’s only about the $$$$$$.

  16. John says

    A better comparison would be, if you walked into somebodies home and they had swastikas and the N word spray painted everywhere, and they were locking up Jews in the basement and lynching black people. I guess in this idiots mind he would just say thanks for having me over, can I have a medal that means nothing to anybody except HIM.
    This guy is a classic self-absorbed athlete. In fact he said, “”Thank God, being an athlete and having trained so long for this, I would just be crushed if that was taken away,”
    Nothing about community or anybody else,. just about how HE would be crushed. I guess being crushed for not having a chance to compete is WAY more important than other people being tortured and LITERALLY crushed to DEATH.
    I started out on the fence on a boycott, but the more I listen to these douchebags, I fully support one.

  17. Francis #1 says

    The one thing I’m sort of liking regarding this entire Olympics situation, and other things such as marriage equality, is that we’re REALLY finding out who our true allies are, and those who just speak the good game. Jeremy Abbott, nothing needs to be said that hasn’t been. He doesn’t really care, and it is what it is. I don’t look down on him for it. I just recognize he’s not an ally to us and move on, and thank and appreciate those who are.

  18. HenryG says

    No one commenting here is going to Sochi to protest. You are all gas bags of no action screaming that others should do your work.
    Get off you rumps and go to Russia and protest, or shut up ! Let us see just how big your bravery is at Sochi. It seems HUGE while you sit on the couch !

  19. HenryG says

    No one commenting here is going to Sochi to protest. You are all gas bags of no action screaming that others should do your work.
    Get off you rumps and go to Russia and protest, or shut up ! Let us see just how big your bravery is at Sochi. It seems HUGE while you sit on the couch !

  20. JoelD says

    How easily some people rally to prevent the awful harm to athletes of not competing at the Olympics, stepping over beaten bodies and threatened lives to do so.

    As noted at JMG’s, “If you are hosted at someone’s house and they abuse their children right there between dinner courses, you damn well do something.”

    No more Olympics for me…there are other games … and maybe it’s time to stop games generally and pay attention.

  21. Sean says

    Another greedy athlete who only cares only about himself, 15 minutes on TV, and a piece of jewelry that will collect dust on a shelf. Thank you (not really) Jeremy for being complicit to the rape, torture, imprisonment, beating, silencing and MURDER of human beings. I hope you lose.

  22. Rob says

    I just posted the following on Abbott’s Facebook page, though I presume it will shortly be deleted (though I think it would be great if there was just a constant flood of comments like this — we should hold up all potential Olympic competitors to a higher standard and not tolerate them making light of this):

    “Your recent comments to the Denver Post are a disgrace. To compare institutionalized persecution of an entire class of people and basic human rights violations to decorating taste is appalling. It is exactly that kind of thinking by bystanders that allowed the Holocaust to happen. Speaking out against human rights violations is not “rude”, it is your moral obligation, as it is for every citizen of the world. You should be ashamed of yourself!”

  23. Moz's says


    going to sochi to protest is putting $ into russian pockets

    boycotting watching and all product sponsors is better

  24. datlaw says

    My best friends was sitting at a dinner table once and the host said the N-word. He promptly excused himself the dinner table and left. I respect him for that. I’m sure he didn’t like the floral patterns either, but that’s not why he left.

  25. TimD says

    As most people say, a disappointing comment. If anyone follows figure skating, I would be surprised if Abbott or Weir either one qualify for the Olympics. I think they have been surpassed by newer blood.

  26. QJ201 says


    Someone sitting on their fat ass doing nothing flaming others as fat asses doing nothing.


  27. Henry Holland says

    POSTED BY: HENRYG | AUG 25, 2013 11:06:03 AM

    Totally agree. It’s been hilarious watching a bunch of gays, most who don’t know anything about sports or the sports world, acting all radical activist just because they’re not going to watch something they wouldn’t have watched anyway and because they spent a whole 30 seconds –30 SECONDS! OMG!– doing an online petition or *gasp* a whole minute typing a comment on an obscure gay blog.

    The IOC, NBC and the Sochi Committee are laughing at you.

  28. Leroy Laflamme says

    So HENRYG, you’re going to Sochi to protest? You’re shelling out for visa & airfare, accommodation, food & drink for at least a week, events tickets & incidentals? If I understand you correctly, you’re spending a few thousand dollars to protest? You’re a greater man than I am.

    But, I didn’t come on this forum to get snarkey about a comment that rubbed me up the wrong way. Dedicated athletes of Olympic caliber are very often completely self obsessed – it goes with the territory – so Abbott’s attitude should come as no surprise. He really leaves himself wide open when he says, ‘My speaking out just makes me look like an ass.’

    Anyone who doesn’t equate what’s happening in Russia today with the rise of German nationalism in the 1930s could use a little reading. The expression ‘The writing’s on the wall’ is particularly appropriate here.

  29. Hagatha says

    While we’re at it, let’s have a word about the closet and male figure skaters. Seriously, dudettes, you romp around the floor with Disco Dolly while wearing spandex and sequins…. but “my private life is my business.”

    Yeah, and River Viiperi to you too.

  30. Hagatha says

    HenryG – that is the dumbest post I have read today, but it’s early. It is not incumbent upon us to go to Russia, and spend money in the process, to protest their laws. The objective here is to get people to not go to Russia, and not spend money there. For my part, I am not buying Russian ammunition. It sucks anyway.

  31. Mark Twain says

    What’s hilarious is the analogy he used: interior decorating….. We are talking about a HUGE closet case here !!!!! Ha! Ha! Ha! ….. well he is almost out now. This dude needs tutoring.
    Can someone post his email adress? the poor boy needs lengthy, slow, carefull explanations. Maybe he will understand something eventually. Let’s hope.

  32. andrew says

    @Sean: Now that you are finished accusing Jeremy of being “complicit” in the murder of human beings. Tell us what you have done, are doing or plan to do to prevent the murder of those human beings. Maybe some of us, who are also opposed to Russia’s mistreatment of LGBT people, can follow your lead.

  33. deedrdo says

    ‘Um, the way you decorate is hideous, and you need to completely take out the dead and tortured bodies or I’m never coming back.’

  34. Bart says

    No one said you had to be smart to skate. Sad this boy doesn’t get it but clearly he doesn’t.

  35. PookiePoo says

    Cue the typical hate filled comments from the same people who refuse to take a seat at the table.

    Alienating allies is stupid. It’s naive to think a boycott is going to somehow bring about sweeping change in Russia. It’s even more stunningly stupid to insist the game be cancelled, when they present the perfect opportunity to bring world attention to the plight of LGBT people in Russia !

    Stop demanding everybody but YOU make a sacrifice, and grow a pair.

  36. Eugene says


    What’s “hate-filled” is the comparison to interior decorating. Gays and lesbians are people, and you can treat them with respect even if you choose not to boycott.

  37. chris says

    The intriguing thing is that, based on recent US championship results, it’s unlikely either Weir or Abbott — who, by the way, is known for choking at big events — will make the team.

  38. Mark Twain says

    We, citizens of the democracies, who give the sponsors/networks the money they use to buy multibillion $ rights from the I.O.C. , need to instruct the I.O.C. To no longer give the Olympics to dictatorships and repressive countries. I don’t want to pay anything, to any corporation, to provide Mr Putin with a worldwide show he will use to promote his repressive and corrupt government.
    We can achieve this through direct petitions AND boycotts threats AND boycotts AND political action like writing all our representatives. It’s not OR it’s EITHER. The olympics games is not a free show given by the gods, it’s a huge commercial circus which exploits athletes to make billions. Nor Russia nor China have a RIGHT to get them. It’s a
    commercial event, privately owned by the International Olympic
    Committee, a private body with exceptional rights. As such they shpuld
    be held to exceptionnal scrutiny and they should strive to achieve something more than maximum profitability at any cost. We, collectively, even have the right to shut them down, possibly by shuting down all our TVs and ignoring them on the Web and boycotting all their sponsors. And let’s remind the crybabies something: boycotting crushed the apartheid in South-Africa. It’s legitimate, it’s effective.

  39. Brian1 says

    OK, I know nothing about this guy, (or figure skating) so I googled him, and interestingly the first topic that comes up is Jeremy Abbott boyfriend. According to many online articles, he’s supposedly dating fellow skater Massimo Scali. No idea at all if it’s true, but it may explain why he’s taken this (dumb and offensive) approach. Seems he wants to stay in the closet, and he figures protesting would possibly draw more attention to his sexuality. So he’s come up with the lame “not polite” stance to cover his tracks. Pathetic, but I guess there are lots of examples like this.

  40. says

    I love all these holier-than-thou posts… I don’t recall any similar uproars over the 1984 Los Angeles or 1994 Atlanta Olympics when the United States had similarly draconian anti-gay laws on the books (private, consensual gay sex was still illegal in Georgia and many other states in 1994).

  41. Frank says

    How SELFISH for an athlete to be more concerned about how a boycott would affect them. WAAAH, I trained for years to figure skate in the Olympics, and that chance is being taken from me! Sure – small potatoes when compared to the Russian teens whose lives are being taken from them.

    Every one of these athletes who is too scared to say or do anything because they fear losing their spotlight on the Olympic stage is an embarrassment. I’m not watching the Winter Olympics because I am boycotting Russia – and I am boycotting weak-willed fame-whore athletes like this.

  42. Richard says

    This unethical moron is so worried he may not be able to skate, he’ll kiss a bloody homophobe’s ass for the opportunity.

  43. anony6 says

    Damn these gay athletes are fcuking disappointing.

    It seems the more “normal/masculine” the gay guy is, the more likely he walks on eggshells so to not offend homophobes.

    I’m not saying anyone needs to get themselves arrested, but all these bogus excuses and offensively false comparisons need to stop.

    Don’t want the games boycotted? Then advocate for their relocation. Furthermore gay athletes, you are not a guest in some host country. Your presence in the country is a earned right via sport, and the country aggressively lobbied to get you there during their bidding process. Nobody should assume the role of a polite house guest.

  44. Frank says

    HENRYG is right.

    I’ve seen more bloody gay Americans on this site than bloody gay Russians. We have to worry about our own interior decorating before we take on the world.

    I’ll be watching the Olympics. This will all be forgotten when the mid-term election kicks into gear and then when Hillary becomes a candidate for 2016.

  45. Randy says

    The Olympics reveal what sort of person you are. And we’re learning that Jeremy Abbott is slime.

  46. andrew says

    Jeremy, ignore the negative comments by the posters on this site. Few if any of them are doing or plan to do anything concrete to oppose Russia’s maltreatment of LGBT people. They just sit in the safety of their homes, far away from any risks of harm to themselves, and hurl accusations at others. Jeremy, concentrate on your skating skills and win a medal for yourself and the USA in Sochi.

  47. m says

    the athletes and fans who attend need the world’s help to have the courage to speak out. what is russia going to do? put everyone in jail? hardly. when human beings are denied the right to be then its time to stop being polite. its put up or shut up. the world will be watching. what the hell are you tube, tumblr, instigram, and facebook for if not to help make the point. what kind of dumbsh*t cares if the russian’s are offended. time to stop being selfish and step up and speak out.

  48. andrew says

    I have a suggestion for all you critics of the athletes for their lack of action or statements on Russia’s mistreatment of LGBT people. Plan now to take a vacation week during the Sochi Olympics, get your passport ready and buy your plane tickets and travel to Russia. While there get out your rainbow flags and demonstrate. Show those Russians that you are not just empty talk from a thousand miles away. Show them that you are willing to “walk the walk, not just talk the talk”.

  49. billy bob says

    WIMP! Take a stand you pipsqueak, sitting on the fence is the action of a coward not an Olympian. WIMP!!!!!!

  50. m says


    so we shouldn’t even be discussing this here? so should we all be quiet? what’s your point? unless we are all there we don’t have the right to an opinion? are you serious? go hide under your mattress.

  51. andrew says

    @M: Of course you and all of us are free to discuss the Sochi Olympics and Russian human rights abuses. But hurling nasty words and accusations at Olympic athletes who are not saying and doing what their critics think is the proper course of action is mean spirited at best. On this line Jeremy has been called selfish, pipsqueak, unethical moron, scared, and even accused of being complicit in murder. All the while the outraged critics aren’t telling us what concrete things they are doing or intend to do to try to end Russian human rights abuses. Why not take a week’s vacation time and go to Sochi and demonstrate? Too daring? Go to D.C. and picket outside the Russian Embassy. Organize a demonstration in your town or city. Posting outraged comments about Russia on Towleroad and Social Media is certainly a weak response. I am not going to hide under my mattress because like you I am in no danger of harm posting my views from the safety of my home.

  52. Leroy Laflamme says

    ANDREW, just so we’re clear, what exactly are your plans to make your voice heard? Are you taking a week’s vacation in Russia? Comments posted on Towleroad are one small part of the greater outcry & every bit as effective in galvanizing world wide support for the movement. Every penny adds up to dollars. Save your criticism for those who believe gays are second class citizens.

  53. andrew says

    @LEROY LAFLAMME: Just so your clear: I’m not one of the outraged critics hurling nasty words and accusations at the athletes because their words or actions don’t meet my ideas of the proper course of action. The only thing that I have done is call the White House Comments line ( 202-456-1111) and posted my views on Towleroad. I have no need for further actions. I am not one of the outraged critics hurling accusations of cowardice and complicity with murder at our athletes because they aren’t doing enough. Since the critics of the athletes are so outraged, I was suggesting that they take some concrete actions. And not just sit, like the rest of us, in the safety of our homes posting comments. I will continue to be critical of people, who may be generally on the same side of an issue as me, if I think their comments and tactics cross the line. By the way, that doesn’t prevent me from frequently criticizing those who oppose LGBT equality. If you visit this site very often, you know that to be the case.

  54. JJ says

    @Andrew, you keep accusing everyone here of doing nothing concrete. Here’s a list of everyone who has commented on this thread so far. Now please identify which of these people you’re talking about who hasn’t organized a protest, marched in a rally, contacted a legislator, donated to Russian activists, made t-shirts, picketed a consulate, spoken to a news reporter, etc. Thanks!

    FRANCIS #1

  55. m says


    countries that support lgbt rights should make a clear and direct statement. these countries should put russia on notice that anti-gay laws are abusive and unacceptable and enforcement of these laws in any way during the olympics could provoke an international crisis. all of the athletes should be free to be themselves without fear. they also should have the opportunity to speak out if they choose. but what’s the point of speaking if all that’s said is “neutral”. lives are hanging in the balance and russia is not neutral. the idea is to embarrass russia not to belittle or pressure the athletes into taking our side. its a critical time and this is an opportunity for change. these are the finest athletes in the world and how they conduct themselves matters. its a waste if they don’t realize how much influence they have.

  56. andrew says

    @JJ: I didn’t accuse everyone of doing nothing concrete. I only accused those who were hurling nasty words and accusations at Jeremy of not giving us the specifics of what concrete things they had done or plan to do. Tell us which of the people that you listed above did which specific things that you refer too. If true, they should receive public recognition for their efforts. It still wouldn’t make it Okay, for those who did so, to hurl nasty words and accusations at Jeremy for his position on the Sochi affair.

  57. Marc says

    If his goal was to come across as self-centered and pathetic, he wins the gold. This is NOT the sort of voice we need coming from America right now. Equating a situation that closely resembles Nazi Germany with ugly curtains is embarrassing and completely ignorant.

  58. James says

    I want all of you who are saying that these athletes that have trained for years for a chance at Olympic glory (and most of these athletes will only have one shot at it) to have the balls and go to Russia and speak out.

    These are ATHLETES!!! They are NOT activists, elected officials, or politicians. They can decide to speak out or not. I am not going to care either way. Their job is NOT to make political statements. Their job is to train their asses off and compete as well as possible.

    The ridiculous comments many are making show that the vast majority of you have never been competitive in any sporting event. Athletes at the Olympic level want to avoid ANY distraction that will affect their chances of winning.

    So shut your pie holes unless you plain to go to Russia and protest.

  59. booth pohlmann says

    I m so sick of stupid, short sighted, small minded people. In this age of constant news feed, twitter, text, and inane info sharing…it seems as if many people don’t even THINK about what is REALLY HAPPENING to our GLBT brothers an sisters This is not just politics. The fact that athletes are so myopic and self centered is sad and typical of so many Americans. “All that is needed for evil t triumph is for good men to do nothing”.

  60. andrew says

    Jeremy: concentrate on your skating skills. Ignore the comments of the armchair militants and PC Police. Go to Sochi. Compete and hopefully bring home a medal for yourself and the USA!!!

  61. m says


    I doubt that and LGBT athlete will be able to fully concentrate if everyone is silent. the russian laws are in the background ominously waiting to catch anyone off guard. are the gay athletes going to be any less gay in russia? you can’t just take off the gay and leave it home. no one expects them to lead a charge into battle or be an activist. but at the same time don’t minimize what’s happening and ignore it either. i hope our athletes all do well and get the gold. as long as we are there we shouldn’t forget that russia is making it impossible for anyone lgbt to exist. its ok ask our athletes to acknowledge this. really. and jeremy should listen to the comments and rethink what he publicly said. because how do you go to a country where someone can be arrested and possibly tortured for being gay, when you are yourself gay, and pretend its not happening and doesn’t matter.

  62. aaron says

    His comments reflect the human experience, more generally. I recognize that I have an opportunity to create change, but by speaking out, I will potentially lose something, so I will remain silent. It’s the same story over and over and over again. I agree with those who are criticizing him, but I think we would do well to ask ourselves what crimes we remain silent about in order to protect ourselves and our own interests. I don’t think there’s a person here who doesn’t do the same thing. He’s only foolish enough to say it out loud.

  63. Meah says

    I agree with James and others.

    None of you stupid queens is an Olympian athlete, none of you is invited to the games, and very few of you probably even watch the games.

    You’re SUCH amazing activists, dissing people who’ve worked hard to attend the Olympics, and demanding they make sacrifices that NONE of you will EVER make.

    I swear, I’ve never been more disgusted and disappointed in queers than I am when it comes to this subject. At least ignorant people have a chance of changing, most of you are just plain STUPID.

  64. m says


    so daring to say something is stupid? how about watching atrocities and doing absolutely nothing? i grew up watching the olympics and couldn’t wait to watch the us go for gold. i was in awe of these guys. yeah i watched figure skating, and gymnastics, and skiing, and speed skating.

    unfortunately the host country has a long history of human rights abuses. also unfortunately instead evolving they are reverting to their old ways and heavy hand. ordinary people can make a difference. you don’t have to be an activist or professional protester. what people refuse to believe is just how bad things are. going to sochi and minding your manners doesn’t guarantee safety and kind of misses the point.

    jemery’s words were stupid. i’m not saying that the athletes have to do anything more than compete. but if you are going to say anything at all please chose your f*cking words carefully. not wanting to offend is f*cking ridiculous. comparing the dangerous attitude of the russians to decorating choices is beyond dumb.

  65. Sojourner Truth says

    Abbott is right in this case. It’s none of our business if Russia chooses to enforce laws against sexual perversion. Russia had the good sense not to allow Obama to remove Bashar al-Assad from Syria, who is a boy scout compared to the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda rebels that Obama tried to support. Putin did not request that we refrain from the Olympics because of Obama’s policy to support murderers who are not only killing homosexuals in Syria, but anyone who does not agree with them. Now that is the more serious issue, but where were the protestors when Obama stood on the side of cruelty and bloodshed? No, better for U.S. athletes to take Abbott’s lead in this. No use looking any more superficial than we already appear.