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Johnny Weir apologizes after calling gay activists ‘idiots’ for anti-Russian protests

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

NEW YORK — Former Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir apologized Tuesday after lashing out at gay rights activists during a speech at Barnard College, calling them “idiots” for their anti-Russian protests, which he labeled “useless.”

Weir’s appearance at the private women’s liberal arts college in Manhattan on Monday evening had sparked a demonstration by activist group Queer Nation, which is angered by Weir’s planned participation as an NBC commentator during the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

APJohnny Weir

AP
Johnny Weir

Weir’s critics say his participation “in effect,” endorses Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law, which prohibits the “promotion of non-traditional relationships” as either normal or equal to that of heterosexual relationships.

Queer Nation said it was protesting outside of Weir’s appearance to “demand that NBC tell the truth about the dire circumstances of LGBT Russians.”

“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 Queer Nation protester Ann Northrop, reported Gay City News. “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?”

But Weir, speaking to an audience of about 40 Barnard women students, said the Olympics “are not the place to make a political statement” about Russia’s anti-gay laws,” and “you have to respect the culture of a country you are visiting.”

He then took aim at his critics and other activists, referring to them as “idiots” — “like the ones outside tonight, dumping vodka in the street,” an action Weir labeled useless.

“They say all these stupid things,” said Weir. “I never supported the [Russian] government. I supported the people.”

Weir, accompanied by his husband Victor Weir-Vornov, who is of Russian descent, said he doesn’t pretend to understand Russian politics, but remarked that even in his own country “I don’t have equal rights.”

“I’ve never had a bad experience in Russia,” he said. “{I’ve] not gotten called a fag or beat up. I only see the rosy, golden side. I choose to see Russia in an arrogant, selfish way. I didn’t know what to think about the new law.”

Ken Kidd, another Queer Nation protester called Weir’s comments “a further assault on LGBT Russians, who are being violently attacked by the Russian government and neo-Nazi gangs as a result of these laws.”

“NBC must immediately denounce Weir’s comments and speak out against Russia’s anti-gay law,” demanded Kidd.

In a written apology released hours after his appearance at the college, Weir said he “felt like a threatened underdog.”

“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 cheer-leading antics for one and all,” wrote Weir.

“I have been defending athlete’s rights to compete in Sochi, despite Russia’s anti-LGBT laws, and have publicly opposed a boycott. This is an issue that is very heated for many LGBT activists who want to protect and save the Russian LGBT community, and I wholeheartedly applaud their bravery,” he wrote.

Weir said that although he does not agree with the protesters tactics, “any selfless act is worth applause.”

Update: On Wednesday, NBC released a statement that said Weir feels “remorse” for insulting protesters during his appearance 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.

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119 more reader comments:

  1. Dick.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:49am
  2. Im sorry but he’s always been a dumb ass ! jus an opinion…

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:50am
  3. Are we going to act like buying vodka to dump on the streets and mailing propoganda that will get Russian families arrested *IS* a good idea, though?

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:50am
  4. The former, yes, because the vodka boycott was very successful in its actual aim, to raise awareness about the issue.

    Replied on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:57am
  5. If you're BUYING vodka so you can *~*symbolically*~* dump it on the streets, that defeats the entire purpose.

    Replied on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:58am
  6. It doesn't. Boycotts almost never affect the bottom line of the companies targeted. The goal, explicitly stated in this case, is to raise awareness about an issue.

    Replied on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:00am
  7. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/boycott

    Replied on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:01am
  8. A refusal to buy any more vodka would do much more than buying vodka just to dump it. The Russian companies are getting the money whether we're drinking it or dumping it so how would that change anything? It only raises awareness that vodka comes from Russia and where you can buy it.

    Replied on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:02am
  9. "an expression of protest or disfavor or as a means of coercion." Nowhere does it say harm the company you're boycotting financially. Which almost never happens anyway, just as a natural consequence of boycotting. By that logic, boycotts wouldn't exist (anymore).

    Replied on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:02am
  10. "abstaining from using, buying" Learn to read.

    Replied on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:03am
  11. Sigh. The purpose is "an expression of protest or disfavor or as a means of coercion." Buying it to dump is an explicit form of protest. And the entire point.

    Replied on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:05am
  12. And I'm sorry but the real world has more nuance than an online dictionary.

    Replied on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:05am
  13. F that nobody..self loathing queen

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:51am
  14. I agree with Johnny

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:51am
  15. he is the worst

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:52am
  16. And his opinion matters because… ???

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:53am
  17. Johnny Weir can go fuck himself! He is nothing but a selfish little queen that LOVES and THRIVES off of creating drama in his life as well as others. He DEFINITELY does NOT represent what I want the world to accept or see as a role model gay or not!!! He’s a nobody little bitch!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:53am
  18. Johnny Spaz.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:53am
  19. Smh. We do not accept your lame apology! People only publicly apologize after they’ve been reprimanded or fined. Don’t believe a word any of them say!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:54am
  20. screw off Weir, you’d rather have the Russians murder us, as long as it doesn’t hinder your Olympic Athletes, dumb bastard!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:54am
  21. Him and Thomas Roberts are meant for each other.

    Replied on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 6:14pm
  22. Just one more reason I cannot stand him. He is a walking cliche.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:55am
  23. fuck you you gay tool.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:55am
  24. I do not agree with Weir with many things, but this one I am. As a US National Figure Skater.
    1. Unfortunately it is in Russia and it’s too late to change it. I despise Putin and his bunch for their hatred for the LGBT community. * I posed with @NOH8Campaign holding a rainbow Olympic flag and have STOP THE HATE SOCHI 2014 * To be released publicly soon. 2. I support the athletes that worked so hard to be on the Olympics. Not many can be an Olympian more than once/twice. Again, it is unfortunate to have it in Russia. I support the athletes, not the government. *** I’m all for boycotting, ONLY if the boycott committee have $$$$$$$$ to hold the event somewhere else!!! Boycotting will only hurt the athletes going into the games ****3. Here’s a thought, maybe there should be a campaign to SUPPORT the athletes and make sure they are SAFE during their stay in Russia

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:55am
  25. Yes, but when he says things like "you have to respect the culture of a country you are visiting," he sounds like an absolute moron.

    Replied on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:08am
  26. I agree with #3 - because it is too late to change location. Lets put our energy into services that will help shield our athletes from being bothered by any of it. For God sakes thats the last thing we need on their minds. They are athletes we have chosen, to have their and represent the USA, to win medals for our Country. Bodyguards, assistants, extra screening proceedures, etc... all things we could focus on to get them through the games and give them the BEST chance to just focus on winning. ( doing the best job they can for us) =)

    Replied on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:18am
  27. Johnny Weir is kind of an idiot. Just because he’s family doesn’t mean he’s smart.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:55am
  28. Tired queen.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:56am
  29. Trying to save his face and life goal?

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:57am
  30. 0__o useless.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:57am
  31. NBC has already announced many times that they plan cover the LGBT oppression in Russia while they film the Olympics.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:59am
  32. Too late Johnny Boy, too late. Shame there’s no more Hollywood Squares to give jobs to has beens.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:00am
  33. Johnny Weir has always been an embarassment to the gay community. He’s just an arrogant piss elegant fairy, and an attention whore. I just wish he would go away.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:00am
  34. I am so tired of this annoying little queen, he needs to go hide somewhere.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:01am
  35. RogerJon, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:02am
  36. I agree with Tim David. But Johnny Weir shouldn’t be calling ppl idiots. He benefits from the Nbc deal and needs introspection.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:02am
  37. FTA: “I have been defending athlete’s rights to compete in Sochi, despite Russia’s anti-LGBT laws, and have publicly opposed a boycott. This is an issue that is very heated for many LGBT activists who want to protect and save the Russian LGBT community, and I wholeheartedly applaud their bravery,” he wrote.

    Weir said that although he does not agree with the protesters tactics, “any selfless act is worth applause.”


    Nice words, Johnny. But what YOU are doing (participating as a commentator on the Olympics) is the OPPOSITE of a selfless act. You’re trying to protect yourself by sleeping with the enemy. Or commentating with them, anyhow. WHILE sleeping with your OWN husband, in a land where people are abused, beaten, MURDERED and torn from their own families EVERY SINGLE DAY, just because someone thinks they MIGHT be gay. Hypocrite much?

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:03am
  38. Just another self centered idiot.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:04am
  39. Johnny Weir is a DISGRACE to the gay community! He should be ashamed of himself!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:06am
  40. He is well…. TRAGIC!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:08am
  41. Although I do not agree or like JW that much. The nasty comments are kinda going against what we are protesting about. Remember people LOVE CONQUERS HATE! Nasty comments are not needed. He has the right to say what he wants. He is reaping the benefits by living in NYC and having the right to marry who he was. But the 65% of the US who cannot marry who they love does not have rose colored goggles on. Hopefully he will realize his wrongs at some point. remember again LOVE ALWAYS CONQUERS HATE!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:10am
  42. WHAT???

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:11am
  43. What the hell is wrong with this nut ?!?!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:11am
  44. Silly little ninny.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:11am
  45. Sad Self Parody

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:12am
  46. I hate self-hating queers.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:12am
  47. drop off, queen….nobody cares about you any more….

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:14am
  48. maybe we shall protest you next buddy

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:14am
  49. LET’S ALL ATTACK HIM AND CALL HIM HUNDREDS OF WORSE NAMES!!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:14am
  50. Thanks for the suggestion, but I already called him a cunt earlier today.

    Replied on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 8:42am
  51. A feeble attempt to take away Tom’s thunder. For shame! Foooorr Sshhame!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:15am
  52. “I’ve never had a bad experience in Russia,” he said. “{I’ve] not gotten called a fag or beat up. I only see the rosy, golden side. I choose to see Russia in an arrogant, selfish way. I didn’t know what to think about the new law.” Hmmmm…..maybe because you have had a charmed elect life as a Olympian/husband of an Olympian? You dumb shit….what if you weren’t? You’d be one of those being killed, beaten up, or worse. YOU are part of the problem!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:15am
  53. We already have enough straight bigots in the world…don’t need a gay bigot. And, they’re out there. Sounds like he’s one of them.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:18am
  54. He kind of has a point though. You can’t change the mind of a dictator, especially when most of the country supports him. Not saying what he said is good or bad, but it’s not positive.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:20am
  55. Sarah Pechacek-Robinson I’m not sure where you’re going with that but if he’s going to make ignorant PUBLIC statements he’s gotta expect PUBLIC backlash…Jus Sayin’

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:20am
  56. He’s just selfish.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:27am
  57. No one ever accused him of having a brain.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:27am
  58. Whatever, jackass. Nobody buys your fake-ass apology. Go fuck yourself, Weir.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:28am
  59. Too little too late

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:31am
  60. Oh Johnny!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:33am
  61. Appologies excepted however the blood of gay Russians is dripping all over that nation so why are we not protesting our government to demand human rights for gays world wide?

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:40am
  62. Judas

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:42am
  63. Too Late, open mouth insert ????

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:44am
  64. Opinions are like assholes…everybody has one.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:46am
  65. Just because he’s gay doesn’t mean he’s not a asshat!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:48am
  66. Fuck you Johnny!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:48am
  67. Weir is an IDIOT! Too little, too late. He was more concerned with a deal with the Network, or some other money deal than he was with human rights for his fellow man. Asshole.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:52am
  68. He makes me wanna yack! :-( Every time this A-hole opens his mouth he reveals himself more of a douche bag than the time before. ” I may not agree with all their tactics nor do I have the sense of responsibility that they have, but any selfless act is worth applause.” Responsibility, ready? You are a prick and the last person any one would ask to lead a march. How about you just not say anything at all. Rather than implying that athletes are more important than the mistreated dirty common people that are beneath you. I just hope they keep all the tortured people away from you while you are there so they don’t get any of their tears on your shoes as I step over them. Crawl in a hole and take Elton John with you!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:53am
  69. That’s the best case of the pot calling the kettle black I’ve seen in decades. Nothing but crap falls out of his mouth when he opens it. Stick to the ice bitch.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 5:01am
  70. Girl, what you talking about?

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 5:02am
  71. Someone tell him to shut up!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 5:35am
  72. The Russian Peoples’ as a whole are very generous and warm hearted, it is Putin and his gangsters that are the problem. If you have never lived in this region or had to deal with Putin on a personal level you will never get it or understand. I feel for Sochi and its local residents, billions spent to destroy a untouched area and after all this grandiose affair they will be at the same way from the beginning. Having nothing and getting nothing. There is a large population of homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals in Russia but mostly it is underground because of the culture. Most times there is no problems until rights come into hand or play. Putin has a known record of breaking these rights and he has already been in problem with the EU and the EU was asking for help from other countries but no one gave a damn until the Winter Olympics which will be happening in Sochi. It is really not about gay rights but human rights and this is Putin’s weapon and abuse until he gets taken down or sadly to say killed because he is a reformed communist after the fall of the USSR. This is a more dangerous communist than the old van garde. He tasted his blood and power and he is addicted to it like a vampire.

    I used to live in Hungary and I already know about this situation from first hand experience.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 5:37am
  73. F*** YOU, Johnny, you pathetic has-been!! UGH!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 5:42am
  74. ?????

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 5:43am
  75. Grow up !! Aghhh

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 5:52am
  76. I cant stand him

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 6:01am
  77. Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 6:20am
  78. He’s a dumbass!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 6:20am
  79. Just one more reason not to support the Olympics.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 6:40am
  80. Dumb, misled child.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 6:43am
  81. Nothing funny about siding with hate crimes in Russia or anywhere Johnny.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 7:05am
  82. Arrogant , self-absorbed like many of his generation, they don’t understand (or care to understand) what strides have been made for them to have it so easy.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 7:13am
  83. Weir is best know for self promotion not activism.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 7:51am
  84. He’s important. Forget him.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 8:24am
  85. I never thought Johnny Weir would sell out to media millions. Oh well…

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 8:32am
  86. I’ve been right all this time! He IS an obnoxious twat.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 8:38am
  87. Self centered nasty little narcissist…always has been

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 9:04am
  88. Obviously Mr. Weir you have no concept of the oppression that faces any LGBTQ person in Russia at the moment…TAKE YOUR UNINFORMED STATEMENT AND SUBSEQUENT APOLOGY CONCERNING GAY RIGHTS PROTESTS ON BEHALF OF THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY…ALONG WITH YOUR MAKEUP BAG….AND SHOVE IT…Bravo to those standing up on behalf of the Russian LGBTQ community!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 9:07am
  89. He doesn’t understand cuz he and his guy have had nothing bad happen to them as of yet. Well, I’m sure they’ll get theirs.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 9:21am
  90. yeah.. not accepted..

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 9:38am
  91. Johnny PLEASE go away, your moment is over.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 9:42am
  92. I’m glad he and his husband haven’t gotten beaten up, but a lot of other people have! What was he thinking??

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 10:13am
  93. Another sad attempt by an individual who has gotten into trouble to rid himself of the trouble. Not apologize sincerely,…rid himself of the trouble.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 10:50am
  94. “Must save face, so I’ll do like every insensitive idiot politician does after saying something offensive and stupid: offer an insincere apology and smile a lot like it wasn’t that big a deal.”

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 11:47am
  95. He is an idiot!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 12:09pm
  96. Go away, find another venue. We have all dealt with DUMB queens before.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 12:18pm
  97. Johnny who? How is he relevant?

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 12:19pm
  98. Johnny Weir is an idiot for trying to think. He needs to go back to the Ice Capades, look pretty and keep his opinions to himself. He no more represents the GLBT community than does Rush Limbaugh.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 12:32pm
  99. You are a complete asshole, your 15 minutes are over, go the fuck away, you are an embarrassment to the Gay community & yourself. SHUT THE FUCK UP. NOBODY GIVES A FUCK ABOUT YOUR OPINION.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 1:39pm
  100. Who is this

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 1:59pm
  101. He seriously needs to put a cork in it. He’s tiresome.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 2:12pm
  102. Mr. Weir needs to be careful about what he says. He has benefitted from the changing views and attitudes toward gay people. How many people may have called him idiot or other names for his flamboyant performances (on & off the ice)? Because his experience of Russia is different doesn’t mean that their homophobic laws and behaviors are acceptable.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 2:37pm
  103. He’s not gay? Could have fooled me with that hair bump on his head. Oh he IS. What a little twat.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 2:40pm
  104. I get that he’s going to say stupid things because he loves the Olympics, it’s been his whole life. But he needs to remember that it’s not ours. Our lives are our freedoms and Russia needs to know it can’t treat people inhumanly and still be honored.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 2:42pm
  105. He’s a rump ranger himself, what s he apologiziing for?

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:32pm
  106. cheer leader. move on

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:35pm
  107. hope he gets his head bashed bu his loving russian homophobes.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:58pm
  108. celebrity/politician apologists are dung factories.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4:40pm
  109. Always thought he was too into himself.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 5:32pm
  110. selfish prick !!!!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 6:15pm
  111. If you’re apology is sincere or not,only God knows it. But mind you Mr.Weir,we are all under the umbrella of cause and effect..Whatever it is that is in your heart,YOU WILL GET WHAT YOU DESERVE.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 6:25pm
  112. Johnny Weir, you know its actions and not words which show regret and that you are apologetic. Grow up, Weir.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 7:02pm
  113. Oh, Mr. Weir. I used to LOVE “Be Good Johnny Weir” on LOGO. Better hope you’re able to come back to the US after the Olympics…or suppress your gayness while you’re there. You could SO be the catalyst for change in Russia. Oh well…

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 7:22pm
  114. Too little, too late, Johnny.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 7:30pm
  115. “me thinks that the lady doth protest too much !” and is an asshole.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 9:59pm
  116. something tells me this guy is a closet douche

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 10:08pm
  117. Who cares about him? NO ONE

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 10:38pm
  118. See it’s easy for Mr. Weir to not care about LGBTQ rights in Russia. He has the PRIVILEGE of being an olympian which brings money and an ability to fight for his rights if they are challenged. What he is not aware of is that not everyone has that PRIVILEGE Mr. Weir.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 10:51pm
  119. Apology not accepted. The initial statement is beyond forgiveness.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 10:56pm