Johnny Weir Tries to Explain His Outburst at LGBT Activists Opposing His Stance on Russia

Earlier today we reported on Queer Nation's protest of gay figure skater Johnny Weir at an event he was hosting last night at Barnard College in NYC.

WeirThe protest was held in opposition to Weir's decision to serve as an NBC correspondent during the upcoming Sochi Games in Russia and his ongoing defense of Russia. Weir called the longtime LGBT activists "idiots" during the Barnard event and was called on it by activist Andy Humm.

Weir wrote a lengthy explanation for his behavior, which reads, in part:

Cut to this week when I was speaking at a university and called a small group of people protesting my speech, idiots, for no other reason that my tongue getting away from me. This kind of talk is usually relegated to the safety of my own friend groupings and family but for some reason, I felt like a threatened underdog and needed to take a dig at the people who had me on edge. At the end of my speech I opened the floor to a Q&A and it turned out that those very people protesting my speech, were actually friends of the faculty and brave LGBT activists who stood in the same room as me. I felt, and still feel, a great deal of remorse for allowing myself to insult other people, fighting in their own way, and for using insulting words instead of my usual cheerleading antics for one and all.

What my speech related to was the role of athletes at the upcoming Russian Olympics, and as if it isn’t obvious, this is a topic I know a lot about and am very passionate about. I will preface this also by saying that it’s been a while since I was last protested in person and for the last month I have been dealing with an unsafe fan situation, so to say the least, I am on high alert and high self-protection mode. However, I realized that there is no excuse to hurl insults at those who oppose you, or those who think differently than you and as a believer in free will and free speech, I allowed my own fear and emotion to get the better of me and for a moment I became a hypocrite.

He adds:

Despite many activists bravery, they also have a very pointed way of trying to make everyone around them an activist and to stand for a cause. 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. As a non-confrontational person, I take it very hard (obviously) when I offend people or they feel the need to tell me that I am awful. Many activists also believe that change starts with a revolution, a term that terrifies me. I am not against activism in any way, but I don’t have the strength of character to not only revolutionize my life on a daily basis but also the lives of others. Our differences are vast, but we all live for a purpose.

Read Weir's full post here.


  1. Chris says

    Johnny should just be happy that the lgbt rights activists that came before us and made this level of acceptance possible, weren’t like him.

    “Before being pro-gay”? What a selfish, careless, heartless excuse of a person.

    Right when you think he can’t get any worse, he does.

  2. Fahd says

    Johnny is not the best as a politician or a public figure — being all things to all people. He’s going to have a hard time cashing in because of it. He keeps trying however.

    Olympic athletes want to go to the Olympics and they don’t like it when countries boycott. Gay people need to tell Russia to stick it. He can’t be on both sides.

    The whole nation-state concept is so 19th century. We need to rethink how athletes participate in the Olympics.

    Ted Turner had some ideas for an alternative didn’t he?

  3. Mike Ryan says

    But, of course, he won’t step down from his role with NBC and boycott the Sochi Olympics as he should. No no… that would be too magnanimous – after all he is there for the boatload of money NBC is paying him, for the celebrity status and of course, his ignorance and stupidity to support such a bigoted and discriminatory regime and the IOC.

    He can’t wash this over with a phony apology. He has destroyed himself with his greed against his own kind. The queen is a traitor to his own gay community and we’ll never forget that. I support my gay family around the world and I won’t be watching the Sochi Olympics much less Johnny Weir.

  4. b says

    This should also say that Weir’s apology was posted early this morning, well before the backlash of today. It’s only being reported on now. Also, the activists have called him “moron,” “idiot,” “twit,” and many more choice names. There are “outbursts” all around. He is echoing the sentiments of those who feel that much of the activism around this issue has lacked focus and targeted the wrong people. (IE an American skater rather than the Russian government.)

  5. Give Fascism a Chance says

    How dare this gay man express a political opinion that hasn’t been approved by the Thought Police. How dare he!! If I could get near him I’d give him such a slap.

  6. PairInstabilitysupernova says

    Before he was pro-athlete, he was pro-Russian military. I won’t be watching the Olympics, just like I didn’t see Ender’s Game (which tanked). The Olympics have lost all virtue in my eyes. There is now way I could celebrate with Russia knowing exactly how vicious and inhumane they are to people like me there.
    Just can’t happen !

  7. brian1 says

    That line about being pro-athlete before being pro-gay is by far the most coherent thing he’s said on this topic. I’m sure almost everyone would disagree with that feeling here, but at least he’s made an attempt to explain his position. Unfortunately it’s too little too late. That appearance in the Russian military uniform was an epic fail, had nothing to do with being pro-athlete, and everything to do about looking like a Russian puppet. He’ll never recover from that.

  8. Elsewhere1010 says

    The time to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds is over. It’s time to stand for something, and make no mistake — the future will judge us unrelentlessy for what we do today.

  9. robroy says

    He won US nationals a few times but never worlds.

    The thing that kills me most about this is that he skipped the Olympic Athletes’ reception at the White House in 2006 because he was so above W. But bring on a regime that will not only ban gay marriage but try to ban gayness itself and he can’t wait to pack his bags and wing it right over!!!

    Plus he constantly refers to himself as an underdog, a sloe sparkly boy on the ice, a real outsider… while raking in appearances and throwing shade on everyone else. He has been given the opportunity to not only have a same sex marriage but to have one with someone originally from another land. That he is so flippant about other having that same opportunity or those who paved the way is damned near maddening.

  10. woodroad34 says

    Geez! He sounds like a Catholic Cardinal. I guess the idiots “out marketed” him. I don’t know why he’s apologizing…he would have called them idiots no matter what; just like Cardinal Dolan would be anti-gay no matter how he worded it. If he’s really in the mood to apologize, why doesn’t he apologize for sucking up to Russian bigots and murderers–now there’s a real idiot.

  11. FFS says

    Yes. Absolutely. Because, as we all know, the annals of history are littered with the corpses of athlete persecution.

    Keep talking, cupcake. Dig yourself into further irrelevance.

  12. stevetalbert says

    I used to not like him, but now I respect him more. I think that his apology was a true apology that considers all sides. Not some “sorry you were offended but not sorry about saying it” stuff most people try to pass off as an apology.

  13. Edgar Carpenter says

    To Weir’s attackers – attacking gay men who use different tactics to work towards LGBT equality than you do, and who have a different understanding of social dynamics than you do, is absurd – spend that energy doing something positive, guys. When you attack other gay men like this you’re no better than cannibals.

    His life has been very different from most of the rest of us, and it has taught him to look at things differently. Differently, not badly. You may see things he doesn’t – but he certainly sees things you don’t. His statement and apology was thoughtful and complex, and it’s clear that he understands the value of a variety of people using a variety of tactics to weaken and eventually eliminate anti-LGBT bigotry.

    Calling Weir names, saying he should just shut up, and the rest of the personal attacks explain his outburst – and his apology, since he understands the people shouting insults at him much more thoroughly than *they* seem to understand *him*. And he values their contributions to fighting bigotry, even though they are treating him nastily and with unwarranted contempt.

    My admiration for him keeps growing – he’s on the right side of history, he’s just doing it differently than his critics want him to. There’s room for all of us, though.

  14. Sean says

    So basically it is still money, athletic records, endorsements, medals etc are more important than the human beings who are being raped, tortured, beaten, imprisoned, silence and murdered for being LGBT, perceived to be LGBT, &/or straight people who support LGBT people.

    Save it Weir. Not wishing that it happens, in fact I hope it doesn’t happen, but don’t ask for help if you get attacked in Russia for being you. Maybe your medals will help you the same way it helped the gay Russian kid that died after being tortured by Neo-Nazis or the the 23yo gay Russian man who was raped with beer bottles and beaten to death with a 44pound rock by his so called “friends”. Oh that’s right your precious Olympics are more important than human life, selfish pap. Grow up Weir and find yourself a soul so that maybe you can be a more decent human being who cares about more than self.

  15. Paul R says

    In 5 years he’ll be forgotten. At the Olympics, after his recent stunts, NBC will use him very sparingly. He thinks that any attention is good attention, which is sad.

    I thought he was amusing for a brief period. But once fame went to his head and he did that reality show and any other horrible money-maker that anyone threw his way, he became an unbearable self-parody.

  16. MIke says

    Once again, it’s ALL about Weir, and NBC gets a free pass. C’mon Queer Nation, I don’t even live in NYC and I sort of know where to find them.

    Oh, right, the protests against NBC will start AFTER the games start. Whoo!

  17. Bill Michael says

    I love this young man, Johnny Weir. He’s kind, caring, honest, sincere, and very human and very unlike the rotten mean little bitches that fly off the handle any time they don’t get their way.

  18. Mike in the Tundra says

    @ Joey Y – How can you possibly know what we have done or are doing? Perhaps you are figuring that we are just like you. My personal activism goes all the way back to Act Up in the early days of the HIV battle.

  19. Ricco says

    Frak Athlete and their elitis dreams. And who is to say that these are the greatest athletes in the world? I guess that would b the people who can afford to pave their road to the Olympics, or have it paved for them.

    Utter buulsh*t.

    In any case, am damn sick of hearing brain-dead athletes going on an on about their Olympic dreams when their are Russian people who dream of the freedom to be thmselves without being assaulted, murdered, or shipped off to a Siberian prison.

    Sorry A**wipes, but the dream of freedom from persecution supercedes your lame Olympic dreams. If these athletes cared about anone but themselves, they would stand united against the IOC, then the IOC would have to move the Olympics. It is time these athletes gre some fraking brains.

    For years athletes have been stripped of medals and penalized by these old hypocrites for behavior they deemed less than becoming of an Olympian, then they decide to allow a country to host an Olympics that is utterly lacking in character and morality.

    The IOC only has the power they have because these brain dead atheletes with their pathetic dreams gives it to them. I wonder how they would hold an Olympic event if none of tghe athletes participated. I guess they would have to get in there themselves and have a geriatric Olympics.

    So frak Johnny Weir (Who I used to think was pretty coll guy), and frak every athlete who thinks their Olympic dreams are more important than the freedom of the host countries citizens.

  20. Michael Murphy says

    Johnny is right. We each have our own purpose. It makes me think for example of the difference between Marlene Dietrich, who left her home country when the Nazis took over and Elizabeth Schwartzkopf, who stayed and entertained them at all their political cocktail parties while they gassed 6 million people. Clearly some us are born panderers.

  21. jonathan says

    If you read what this piece of crap actually said about the anti-gay laws in Russia then you would understand there aren’t two sides to this story. He’s supremely stupid and he has no character at all. I’m glad he’s dealing with fear. He deserves it and anything that makes him understand what oppression of gay people actually is will be a good thing. If he got beaten to a pulp I would cheer.

  22. anon says

    If you’ve seen any of his reality TV show, you know his main concern is clothing and finding paying gigs, which is very hard for ice skaters, since ice skating isn’t all that interesting or entertaining to begin with.

  23. Fenrox says

    @FHAD, Exactly! This is annoying but it’s also not surprising given that Weir is a damn figure skater and has no burden of being some savvy politician.

  24. Pete says

    Basically he’s sold out his principles in order to make some cash. He’s gutless, spineless, and disappointing. But he’s hardly unique in that regard. Many people put personal gain ahead of principle. It doesn’t make it right, and it exposes what kind of character they have.

  25. Liam says

    Olympic athletes are not the best spokesmen for anything other than their sport. The are so focused on what they do that they really know nothing about anything else. They just want to do their sport and anything that threatens that is wrong to them. They find it really hard to step outside themselves and see that going to Russia is hurting real people. It is understandable I guess but so very very wrongheaded.

  26. Enchantra says

    Let’s be really clear here. You twits want to crucify Weir because this one man thinks that the way to the Russian heart is through belligerent kindness. You are undoubtedly the same people who are fierce gay rights activists…. from your perch in San Francisco or Washington while expressing nothing but contempt for the people who are actually effecting change simply by refusing to give up on their hometowns and families.

    Johnny Weir is something most of you wouldn’t recognize because you weren’t born to it or you gave up on dignity long ago: he is a gentleman.

  27. walter says

    those protesters that he called idiots worked hard to gain the rights he enjoys . if it weren’t for so called idiots he wouldn’t be able to be married and his husband would be chased around red square by a bunch of neo nazis . if he is so in love with russia that he wears a russian military uniform please self deport to russia and see how long before the thugs beat him

  28. SanFranAdvocate says

    The question really is–does Johnny Weir have *any* responsibility to the LGBT community in Russia? He seems shocked that people think he does. I’m proud, however, that the gay community expects him to stand up those suffering souls in Russia. They expect him to be a better man. Come on, Johnny, listen to us.

  29. Enchantra says

    Walter – Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have both worked hard for negro civil rights. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t both buttwads when it comes to other issues (like 2nd Amendment, freedom of association, freedom of speech, etc…)

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