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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" »


Johnny Weir Defends NBC Gig in Russia: 'If it’s Good Enough for Elton John, It’s Good Enough for Me'

Retired Olympic figure skater-turned-NBC correspondent Johnny Weir defended his trip to Russia and his love of the country in an interview with the NYT this week, telling the paper that  his husband, Victor Voronov, a first-generation Russian-American, wants him to speak out and “be more on the side of the gay team.”

WeirWeir doesn't see eye-to-eye with his husband.

Said Weir to the paper:

"I risk jail time just going there, but the Olympics are not the place to make a political statement. I’m not a politician and I don’t really talk about politics. You don’t have to agree with the politics, but you have to respect the culture of a country you are visiting."

“It’s pretty obvious that I’ve been gay my whole life. I don’t need to break any laws or wear a rainbow pin to show people that I support gay rights. I think I’ll do that just by being in Sochi and supporting our people there and know they are not alone."

"The gay community has not reacted well to me because some people think it’s my responsibility to be an activist. They’re expecting me to hate Russia because I haven’t been given equal rights in Russia.”

"If it’s good enough for Elton John, it’s good enough for me. Every country’s going to have its issues."


Johnny Weir Retiring from Skating, Working as Analyst for NBC at Sochi Olympics: VIDEO

Weir

Out gay figure skater Johnny Weir announced on the Today show this morning that he's retiring from the sport and taking a job for NBC as an Olympic correspondent at the Sochi Games.

Said Weir about going to anti-gay Russia: “While this law is a terrible thing that you can’t be gay publicly in Russia, I plan to be there in full support of our brothers and sisters there and not be afraid. If I get arrested, I get arrested. If not, not, great, but our presence is needed. For all the Olympians that worked so hard, a boycott is the worst thing you can do to these young people.”

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Weir  has described himself as a "true patriot and spokesman for their country" in past interviews and in September wore a Russian military outfit to an interview with Keith Olbermann in which he argued against Russian boycotts.

NbcsochiNBC has been facing heat since July over the anti-gay laws in Russia and the upcoming Olympics broadcast. They have said that they will wait to address the issue until the Games arrive.

"We'll address it at the time because it's still unfolding," said Lazarus, adding that the IOC has taken up the issue with the Russian government.  "The IOC has addressed it with the Russian government and has assured athletes, fans and media that there won't be any issues," he added. "Governments across the world have different laws. I don't know now it's going to [affect] us. If it is still their law and it is impacting any part of the Olympic Games we will make sure we are acknowledging it and recognizing it."

NBC also assured its gay employees of their safety in Sochi in a memo sent out in August.

MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts was blasted with criticism last week for accepting a job in Russia as host of the Miss Universe pageant, a job that Bravo exec and host Andy Cohen turned down because of the country's anti-gay laws.

Roberts continues to be lambasted. Wrote Andrew Miller in the Huffington Post:

Thomas Roberts has become the next in a forming line of self-involved celebrities traveling to Russia to show Vladimir Putin how out and proud they are, or how supportive they are of their out-and-proud friends and relatives. Elton John, who will be concertizing in Moscow in December "to support Russian gays," is at the head of that queue. (Figure skater Johnny Weir, who was ready to get arrested at the Olympics in August, got, uh, cold feet in September and is staying home.)

Miller wrote his piece before Weir's announcement today.

Elton John recently announced he would play two concerts in Russia  because, "As a gay man, I can't leave those people on their own without going over there and supporting them. I don't know what's going to happen, but I've got to go."

He later said that he would not speak out against the government from the stage but preferred to meet with Russian leaders.

The real and unknown question remains — will any of these openly gay figures step up and make a difference (either with a major political statement or one that has a financial impact on LGBT members of society oppressed by the Putin regime) while they are in Russia, because it is really the only way any of them can justify making the trip.

Watch Weir's announcement, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Johnny Weir Retiring from Skating, Working as Analyst for NBC at Sochi Olympics: VIDEO" »


Gay U.S. Figure Skater Johnny Weir Won't Skate in Sochi Games

Weir

U.S. figure skater Johnny Weir declined to register for the national championships and thus won't qualify for the Sochi Winter Games in Russia, the AP reports:

Though Weir had raised the possibility of competing in Sochi in recent interviews, his decision to sit out the season and likely bring an end to his amateur career is not a surprise. He turned 29 in July, old by elite skating standards, and the sport has only gotten more demanding since the last Olympics...

...Weir also is married and has a budding design career, and would be a natural fit for broadcasting. He's always been delightfully refreshing, on and off the ice, and is one of the few skaters who spoke his mind -- even when he knew it would get him in trouble with judges and federation officials. He could also be counted on for thoughtful answers on a variety of topics, and has been an outspoken and very public critic of Russia's new "anti-gay" law.


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