Gay Activists Protest Gay Figure Skater

Queer Nation to NBC, Johnny Weir: Stop Lying about the Treatment of Russian Gays

by Melanie Nathan, Dec 02, 2013.

IMG_0278As if it is not bad enough that the anti-gay forces in Russia subject the world to lies and myth, now we hear it from our own – and is it in the name of money – in the name of commercialism- this is nothing more than a disgusting reprehensible sell-out by Johnny Weir and Thomas Roberts, two Western Gay men. These gay men are self serving money makers and glory seekers and are doing nothing more than exacerbating the lies of Putin and the Russian anti-gay parliamentarians. Two men and the networks behind them are doing more harm than good.  Quite frankly when I saw Thomas Roberts on MSNBC pandering to the Russians and giving them a voice on our networks, without any counter argument, I wanted to throw up.

Read on Via Queer Nation:

Queer Nation will protest an appearance by gay figure skater and NBC Olympic commentator Johnny Weir at Barnard College to demand that NBC tell the truth about the dire circumstances of LGBT Russians.

“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.”

In June, Russia enacted a law that effectively bans any pro-LGBT statement in public or private and on the Internet. Russia also barred adoptions of Russian children by anyone living in a jurisdiction that allows same sex marriage.

The Russian parliament recently proposed legislation that would allow the government to remove children from a household headed by a gay or lesbian parent. While that legislation has been withdrawn ahead of the Olympics, activists believe the parliament will reintroduce it after the Games are over. And to make matters worse, their homophobic laws are spreading in the region.

Weir, a self-described Russophile, has continued to praise Russia since these laws were enacted and said he would not comment on the laws while he is a figure skating commentator for NBC during the Olympics. His biography at the Premiere Speakers Bureau at http://www.premierespeakers.com says Weir “works with the Russian Children’s Welfare Society and Russian Consulate in New York City.” Weir is, in effect, a spokesman for the Russian government.

Queer Nation is a direct action group dedicated to ending discrimination, violence and repression against the LGBT community. http://www.queernationny.org Twitter: @QueerNationNY

The incriminating statements -

Statement by:
NBC’s Johnny Weir: “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 the country you are visiting.” READ HERE 

Statement by MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts: “I certainly don’t want to be a commercial for Russia… [but] I haven’t run into any discrimination so far since I’ve been here.” READ HEAR

Statement by Igor Kochetkov, head of the Russian LGBT Network:”The latest laws against so-called gay propaganda have essentially legalised violence against LGBT peopleIt is an action to terrorise the entire LGBT community
READ HERE

Picture: Russian Activists who recently attended a meeting in the Castro and toured the USA expressing how hard it was to be LGBT in Russian and speaking of the persecution. READ HERE

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16 Comments on “Gay Activists Protest Gay Figure Skater”

  1. Tracy December 2, 2013 at 7:15 PM #

    I’m replying here from my hospital bed…the in-house wireless has blocked your site, Mel?

    *”Statement by: NBC’s Johnny Weir: The Olympics are not the place to make a political statement. Im not a politician and I dont really talk about politics. You dont have to agree with the politics, but you have to respect the culture of the country you are visiting.*

    Hmm…I wonder if Weir would have had this same reaction to “agreeing to disagree” with Nazi Germany?? What a complete & total disappointment he is.

    I also love the hypocrisy of stating that he doesn’t, “talk about politics”- yet, in fact, manages to make a very big political statement- one which is more damaging to the LGBT community than anything that bigoted Neanderthal Lively could ever do! Weir is slime.

  2. Ab December 2, 2013 at 10:23 PM #

    Why is the focus on Weir and not the law? And get your facts about him right. Association with a Russian charity/love of Russia does not equal support of the government. Really reaching here. Before you get upset about statements out of context, do some research.

    • Melanie Nathan December 3, 2013 at 12:31 PM #

      Read this BLOG there has been plenty of focus on the law. To use your argument – we should never have banned South African athletes from attending sports events as we did to end apartheid and we should never have boycotted apartheid we should have just focused on the LAW? This IS focusing on the law. Weir is minimizing the Anti-gay law – that is what this is all about!!!

  3. Derek Williams December 3, 2013 at 11:30 AM #

    Weir’s position in the video interview I saw a couple of months ago was that it was far better for LGBT like him to turn up and be openly gay in Russia, as an act of civil disobedience risking arrest, than to boycott the games, and thus invite the fury of the Russian heterosexual majority to attack local LGBT as having been to blame for it. The cost of cancelling the games would be immense. Gays would be killed in the streets in open retaliation. No law enforcement would be capable of stopping the attacks, and there are question marks over whether they would even try, given that gays can be attacked already with impunity in Russia as it is now.

    After Weir’s argument was met with derision, he announced his retirement. Given the language used, it was hardly surprising.

    1. There is no way the Olympics are going to be canceled now.
    2. If there is a boycott only by LGBT athletes then all that does is deliver to Russia EXACTLY what they wanted all along, an Olympic free of any gay athletes, in parallel with their government’s plan for all of Russia. The Sochi event would thus consist of heterosexual participants only.
    3. It is illegal to be openly gay in Russia. Weir going there whether as openly gay competitor or commentator is therefore already breaking the law unless he were to retract all his public statements that he is openly gay.

    • Melanie Nathan December 3, 2013 at 12:29 PM #

      What law says its illegal to be openly gay in Russia? Are you referring to the anti-propaganda law?

      • Derek Williams December 3, 2013 at 1:38 PM #

        Yes, I refer to the new law that bans “homosexual propaganda to minors (<18yo)".

        Propaganda in this context is so loosely defined that it can be taken to mean "any public act or advocacy that makes people under 18 think it's ok to be gay".

        In these terms, any openly LGBT person who is a good citizen, and is successful in their chosen career, or who wins a medal at Sochi and is embraced on the victory dais by their same sex partner could be termed to be in breach of the law, because they are providing a very positive role model of an LGBT person. This would not apply if they were to fail in their career, win zero medals, or to appear as constantly depressed.

        This anti-propaganda law is designed to whip up fear of LGBT people by making us appear as a danger to children, a technique used by the Nazi regime to manipulate Germans into believing that Jews were a danger to Aryan children. Otherwise, Russia could quite easily have simply passed a generic law banning ALL "propaganda to minors" and no-one would have batted an eyelid.

        The Russian anti-gay law is based on the religious belief that homosexuality is not innate to a human being's makeup, but is a 'lifestyle' chosen by sinning heterosexuals. Russians have been led to believe that homosexuality is spread like an infection to children, via "propaganda", and that it can be eliminated by eliminating propaganda, and by persecution of the LGBT minorities. With only religion, and no scientific proof this is even possible, they now believe that by 'preventing' homosexuality, Russia's birthrate will stop declining as a result of all the gays they will convert back into straight people, reproducing.

        The government's motivation is as much political as it is 'moral'. Under the Russian Constitution, Putin cannot be elected again to the Russian Presidency unless there is a referendum to effectuate this change. For this to happen, he needs the support of the largest voting bloc in Russia, the Russian Orthodox Church. LGBT are an easy scapegoat to throw under the bus to get what he wants, since he knows we are a disliked minority.

        • Melanie Nathan December 3, 2013 at 11:39 PM #

          WELL yes we know all that – however in your last comment you said it was “illegal to be gay” – hence I asked the question and you answered “Yes, I refer to the new law that bans “homosexual propaganda to minors (<18yo)".Propaganda in this context is so loosely defined that it can be taken to mean "any public act or advocacy that makes people under 18 think it's ok to be gay"."

          The new anti- propaganda law DOES NOT make it illegal to be gay per se in Russia. . And yes it is subject to wide interpretation but to use THAT law to say it is illegal to be gay is not accurate!

          • Derek Williams December 4, 2013 at 1:43 AM #

            I realise it is not “illegal to be gay”, but if you re-read my comment you’ll see that’s not what I actually said. I said “illegal to be openly gay”. That is definitely illegal now.

            • Melanie Nathan December 4, 2013 at 3:19 AM #

              The problem is I have a lawyers brain and it is actually NOT illegal to be openly gay. It is illegal to be openly gay in front of minors. But I am not watering down the law. I agree completely it is subject to interpretation and it can be interpeted widely. the law does keep people in the closet. BUT it is NOT illegal to be openly gay. That is NOT how the law is written- it may seem like symantics – but to a lawyer brain its not.

              • Derek Williams December 4, 2013 at 3:44 AM #

                It is illegal to be openly gay (i.e. in public) if a minor even MIGHT be present. Since that is almost a certainty in the street, or at a public event, then for all intents and purposes, this law is forcing everyone back into the closet.

                A Russian television news presenter was sacked on the spot for being openly gay: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2393001/Russian-television-presenter-Anton-Krasovsky-sacked-coming-live-television.html

                • Melanie Nathan December 4, 2013 at 1:22 PM #

                  Yes interpretation only – wide interpretation – but not written into the law….. interpretation can be challenged in courts. There is no wording saying its illegal to be openly gay,

                • Derek Williams December 4, 2013 at 1:23 PM #

                  Did you not say “It is illegal to be openly gay in front of minors.”?

                  That is what I meant.

                • Melanie Nathan December 4, 2013 at 10:26 PM #

                  AH ok!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] Queer Nation member Duncan Osborne called Weir’s NBC appointment part of a “disinformation campaign” on NBC’s part in regard to Russia’s stance on the LGBT […]

  3. Johnny Weir: NYC Gay Activists Angered By His Decision Not To Boycott Russia Are ‘Idiots’ | Political Ration - December 3, 2013

    […] Queer Nation member Duncan Osborne called Weir’s NBC appointment part of a “disinformation campaign” on NBC’s part in regard to Russia’s stance on the LGBT […]

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