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Michael Lucas Declares War on Johnny Weir

Earlier this week, Bronze medal-winning Olympian Johnny Weir appeared on the ESPN2 talk show Olbermann to once again state his opposition to any boycott having to do with the 2014 Winter Olympics to be held in Sochi, Russia.

Weir—looking every inch a Pierre et Gilles photograph in his Russian military uniform—said the boycotts would only work to hurt the athletes competing in the Sochi games—and besides, he “Wasn't considered an equal in this country, so why should [he] stay away from another country that doesn't consider [him] equal?” Keith Olbermann seemed less than impressed by Weir’s somewhat ... let’s say tenuous grasp of history, international relations and Weir’s own meandering and inconsistent arguments.

And if Olbermann was unimpressed, the reaction from the LGBT community bordered on outrage. John Aravosis at AmericaBlog wrote “Nothing good can come from Johnny Weir,” while Russia native Michael Lucas writing for today seemed ready to don a military uniform of his own, firing a shot across Weir’s metaphorical bow, saying Weir “doesn’t actually care about the athletes or the workers. He only cares, as usual, about himself,” and wondering out loud what the reaction of the world would have been if a Jewish athlete had given an interview on the eve of the Nazi Olympics wearing a Swastika.

Lucas goes on to contend that any potential boycott will have little real impact on anything, and they aren't supposed to. Rather, he calls the boycotts a moral gesture, with the real point being to keep the Russian LGBT crisis in the news and to keep people talking about it.  

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  1. TJ posted on 09/18/2013 09:10 PM
    Weir is making the tough transition from ‘TV personality’ to ‘spokesperson’ and he’s struggling with it (and who can blame him). As a longtime fan of his, I saw this same sort of apparently erratic behavior and disorganized viewpoints when he made the transition from athlete to TV personality. Just watch his first few episodes of ‘Skating with the Stars’ for a hella awkward-in-the-public-eye Johnny Weir; basically unrecognizable from his current charismatic persona. He was all over the place then just as he seems to be all over the place now. But he quickly caught on to the TV personality gig, called in the best of the best to advise him, and eventually made a huge success of it. Maybe I am giving the guy too much credit, but I personally am not counting him out of an important role in this Russia/LGBT debate just yet.

    Let’s be honest – we’re all angry NOT because we think the guy is an idiot and an asshole, but because we know he’s intelligent and we’ve seen him be compassionate and articulate in the past and WE DESPERATELY WANT THAT AND NEED THAT NOW from someone exactly like him, with his dual identity as a gay man and a Russophile. Just like the Sochi/Stoli boycotts aren’t really about athletics and economics but rather about drawing attention to a problem, this current Weir-bashing episode is not about hating on Weir but in a strange way it’s trying to encourage him to take a stand and be the leader we want him to be and believe he might be capable of being. If he hones his standpoint a bit re: the culturally respectful empowerment of Russian citizens (v. boycotts and disparaging the nation as a whole) it could become quite a sophisticated, powerful and very helpful view in this debate. It may seem crazy now but here's what I think -- don't count Weir out just yet.
  2. pkeets posted on 02/28/2014 10:06 AM
    He did a great job in Sochi to advance the LGBTQ community without making a single political comment. There's something to be said for subtlety.
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