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04/19/2007


NBC Hit With Protests for Ignoring Gays in Russia in Lead-Up to Sochi Winter Olympics: VIDEO

Weir_nbc

Queer Nation protested outside NBC's Sports Department holiday party outside a restaurant on East 30th street in NYC yesterday. The banner was sewn by Gilbert Baker, the creator of the Rainbow Flag.

Earlier in the day, the group hit the Today show holiday party.

Pogrom Nbc_wtf
The group explained its actions in a press release:

Charging that NBC is misinforming its viewers about the dire circumstances of LGBT Russians ahead of its broadcast of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Russia, LGBT activists will demand that NBC tell the truth about Russia and its anti-LGBT laws.

“NBC has dispatched Olympic commentator Johnny Weir and MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts, two openly gay men, to soft-pedal the Russian government’s anti-LGBT bigotry,” said Ken Kidd, a member of Queer Nation NY, an LGBT rights group. “LGBT Russians have been vilified, assaulted, tortured, murdered, and fired from their jobs by the Russian government and by Russian thugs. It’s past time for NBC to report the facts about Russia.”

NBC, which spent hundreds of millions of dollars for the broadcast rights for the Sochi Olympics, said in a Dec. 3 statement, "As we’ve previously stated, NBC will cover all newsworthy issues as they are relevant to the Games, including the LGBT law.” The following events have transpired since then; NBC has reported on none of them:

- Dec. 5: New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli asks 10 Olympic sponsors to oppose Russia’s anti-LGBT laws.
- Dec. 6: At his Moscow concert, Elton John condemns Russia's anti-LGBT laws.
- Dec. 8: German President Joachim Gauck declares he will boycott the Olympics over Russian human rights violations.
- Dec. 10: European Union Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding says she will boycott Olympics over Russian human rights violations.
- Violence against LGBT Russian continues unabated and Russian government does nothing.

Weir and Roberts cover the Olympics for NBC. Roberts hosted the Nov. 9 Miss Universe pageant that was held in Moscow and broadcast on NBC; in Moscow, he made comments that minimized the harm of Russia’s anti-LGBT laws. Weir, who also works for the Russian consulate in New York City, has consistently praised Russia and defended one of Russia’s anti-LGBT laws at a recent appearance at Barnard College.

A story on Americablog revealed yesterday that Weir's bio claimed that he worked for the Russian consulate, a detail that was scrubbed immediately after the story came out.

The scrubbing was followed by a statement from Weir and his publicist saying that the figure skater had never worked for the Russian government.

Weir also tweeted: "I have never worked at or for a Russian consulate. I don't know where people get this stuff. XO"

Queer Nation also released a video yesterday, Olympic Jive, highlighting the Russian anti-gay laws and denouncing the IOC and its sponsors for standing by and doing nothing.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "NBC Hit With Protests for Ignoring Gays in Russia in Lead-Up to Sochi Winter Olympics: VIDEO" »


NBC Expresses Support for Johnny Weir's Apology to Gay Activists

NBC released a statement late yesterday expressing support for their correspondent Johnny Weir's apology after Weir lashed out at Queer Nation activists, calling them "idiots" at a talk at Barnard College earlier this week. The activists were protesting Weir's decision to serve as an NBC correspondent during the upcoming Sochi Games in Russia and his ongoing defense of the country despite its anti-gay laws.

Deadline reports: Weir

NBC just released a statement in response to Johnny Weir’s comments this morning that he feels “remorse” for insulting protesters during an appearance Monday at Barnard College. “We’re supportive of Johnny’s apology for his choice of words last night in an emotional setting. As we’ve previously stated, NBC will cover all newsworthy issues as they are relevant to the Games, including the LGBT law”, NBC said.


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.


Johnny Weir Faces Off with LGBT Activists at Barnard Appearance, Calls Them 'Idiots'

Earlier I posted about Queer Nation protests of Johnny Weir at a talk at Barnard College last night. Weir appeared at the talk with his husband, Victor Weir-Voronov. The openly gay skater is contracted to work at the Sochi Games as a commentator for NBC.

Weir_voronovApparently there were fireworks inside the talk as well, as Weir defended his love of Russia and attacked the LGBT activists protesting him outside.

Reports Andy Humm at Gay City News:

During his talk he spoke of “idiots like the ones outside tonight, dumping vodka in the street,” action he dismissed as useless.

“They say all these stupid things,” he told the audience of about 40 Barnard women students. “I never supported the [Russian] government. I supported the people.”

Polling shows the Russian people support the anti-gay laws overwhelmingly.

...

“We’re angry at him for not telling the truth about what’s going on in Russia to LGBT Russians and everybody else who dissents, who are being brutalized,” said Ann Northrop of Queer Nation at the protest. “He is selling out millions of people to satisfy his desire not to forgo his income or status. Is this what he would have done in Germany in 1936?”

Protest_weirVersha Sharma at Vocativ backs up Humm's report:

The real tension came when he referenced “idiots like the four outside,” referring to the half-dozen activists from organizations Queer Nation and RUSA LGBT who were protesting the event. They held up a banner in front of the school gates that read, “Weir: Russian Olympic Clown; N.B.C.: Naive Bloody Collaborators.”

...

“I as a gay man hope there’s a beautiful iconic moment, but I don’t think it will happen in Sochi,” Weir said.

The iconic moment of Weir’s talk came when longtime activist and reporter Andy Humm called out Weir for his “idiots” comment and demanded the figure skater apologize.

“You insulted them,” Humm told Weir, pointing out that the activists outside “have 100-plus years of experience…they won your right to get married.”

“When I feel attacked, I have the right and ability to say something,” Weir responded, and then apologized.


Queer Nation Protests Gay Figure Skater Johnny Weir Over NBC Gig at Sochi Games: PHOTO

Protest_weir

The activist group Queer Nation protested an appearance by gay figure skater Johnny Weir at Barnard College in NYC last night over his gig as an NBC correspondent for the 2014 Sochi Games.

“In advance of its broadcast of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Russia, NBC has embarked on a disinformation campaign to minimize the plight of LGBT Russians in order to justify its involvement in the Games,” said Duncan Osborne, a member of Queer Nation.

“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,” Osborne continued. “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.”

Weir was speaking at an event at Barnard College called "The Sochi Olympics and the Role of Athletes".

(image: versha sharma twitter)


Would Johnny Weir Ever Boycott the Olympics? — VIDEO

Johnnyweir

Johnny Weir appeared on Bethenny and found himself answering some personal questions backstage in the "Would You Ever" segment. The former Olympian and recently-appointed NBC correspondent has been making waves lately over his Olympic politics and self-proclaimed Russophile status. And sure enough, the questions Weir drew from the bowl largely had to do with figure skating, his competitive career, and whether a boycott of the Olympics would ever be an option for him. In keeping with his recent position Weir said no, citing his parents' own hard work in making his Olympics dreams a possibility. 

Watch the question-and-answer session, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Would Johnny Weir Ever Boycott the Olympics? — VIDEO" »


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