The network’s half-hearted attempts to appear gay-friendly while broadcasting the Sochi Olympics only underscore its complicity with the Kremlin’s crackdown on LGBT rights and freedom of the press.
Apparently the German head of state will be washing his hair rather than be feted in the fetid Sochi.
Huffington Post: ”Johnny Weir: NYC Gay Activists Angered By His Decision Not To Boycott Russia Are ‘Idiots’”
Vocative: ”Johnny Weir Faces Off With LGBT Activists Over Sochi Olympics”
Towleroad: ”Queer Nation Protests Gay Figure Skater Johnny Weir Over Nbc Gig At Sochi Games”
JoeMyGod: Johnny Weir: Gay Activists Are Idiots
PinkNews: Johnny Weir: ‘I’ve never had someone call me a fag in Russia’
Around the Rings: Gay Rights Groups Reach Out.
FOR IMMEDiATE RELEASE:
NBC’S JOHNNY WEIR DISMISSES RUSSIA’S ANTI-GAY LAWS, VIOLENCE
Activists Demand NBC Denounce Comments & Russian Laws
Remarks Made at Forum on Moral Responsibilities of Olympic Athletes
December 3, 2013 (New York) — In comments made at a forum on the moral responsibilities of athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Russia, gay figure skater and NBC Olympics commentator Johnny Weir minimized the impact of Russia’s anti-gay laws and disparaged US and Russian activists who are battling to overturn those laws, which have fueled a growing campaign of anti-LGBT violence in Russia.
“I only see the rosy, golden side [of Russia],” Weir said, according to an article in Gay City News, a New York City LGBT paper that reported on the event. “I choose to see Russia in an arrogant, selfish way.”
“Johnny Weir’s comments are 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,” said Ken Kidd, a Queer Nation member. “Since NBC has seen fit to hire him, he might as well have added, ‘This message brought to you by NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.’” Kidd added, “NBC must immediately denounce Weir’s comments and speak out against Russia’s anti-gay law.”
The December 2 event was held at Barnard College on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
The statement by the retired figure skater disregards the violence perpetrated by the Russian government and neo-Nazi vigilantes, who have routinely posted videos of their attacks on Russian websites since the law was enacted in June. The law bans any pro-LGBT statement in public or private and on the Internet.
Leaders worldwide, including President Barack Obama, have denounced the laws, and LGBT activists around the globe have protested the law and the continuing violence directed at LGBT Russians. Since June, gay and lesbian Russians have been arrested, jailed, beaten, raped, tortured, and murdered in a growing wave of de facto state-sanctioned violence.
Queer Nation, an LGBT rights group, protested outside the event calling on NBC to accurately report on the dire circumstances of LGBT Russians. Weir derided LGBT activists as “idiots like the ones outside tonight, dumping vodka in the street,” and added, “They say all these stupid things.” Weir attempted to walk back this characterization on his blog this morning.
With much fanfare, including an October 23 appearance on NBC’s Today show and a profile in the New York Times the next day, Weir announced his retirement from figure skating and that he would be a commentator on figure skating for NBC during the Games in Sochi, Russia.
“With his claim that the law only bans ‘anal sex in front of libraries,’ NBC’s Johnny Weir has, in effect, endorsed the Russian law,” Kidd said, referring to another remark Weir made at Barnard. “Horribly, these comments in support of Russian gay-bashing are the first public statements made by any major company, including the sponsors, involved in the Olympics.”
A second recently enacted law bars adoption 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.
Six Russian human rights and LGBT groups suggest eight calls to action that Westerners can perform to support the struggle for LGBTQ rights in Russia. Please share, SOURCE: Russia: Censor “GAY”? NO WAY
Stand up against Homophobia! Support the Struggle of LGBTQ People in Russia!
Dear friends, Russia’s recent law banning the ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations’ is a huge attack on civil rights and freedoms in our country. The government is trying to divide society and draw public attention away from many pressing social and political issues which exist in this country.
The government is using existing prejudices to turn LGBTQ people into convenient scapegoats. Its actions have provoked violence against LGBTQ people and criminalised protests against this repression. Some LGBTQ activists have been forced to flee to other cities or even abroad due to government pressure and continuing threats from the far right.
In addition to attacking LGBTQ people, the government is also attacking the rights of women, atheists and religious minorities, persecuting immigrants and the political opposition. Members of the activist band Pussy Riot have already been imprisoned for over one and a half year for their protest, and nearly thirty other people, including an LGBTQ activist, are currently being tried based on falsified charges of ‘mass public disorder.’
Russia is not, however, just the corrupt and authoritarian regime of Putin and his clique. Russia is over 140 million people, most of whom want to see change. After the rigged elections of 2012, thousands of people came out to join mass protests in the streets in cities and towns across Russia. Many LGBTQ activists were involved in these protests and were met with compassion and understanding from many other protesters.
You can support our fight against discrimination, authoritarianism and repression and for equal rights, freedom and genuine democracy in Russia!
We call for:
- Protests in front of Russia’s embassies, consulates or other locations on the day of the Sochi Olympic Games opening ceremony on 7 February 2014;
- Pressure on the corporate sponsors and suppliers of the 2014 Sochi Olympics – such as Coca-Cola, Panasonic, Samsung, Procter&Gamble, Microsoft, Adecco, Visa, McDonald’s, etc. – to express publicly and explicitly their position regarding this homophobic law;
- Sports fans to organize solidarity actions when attending the Olympics;
- Athletes participating at the Olympics to express their support in statements or symbolically;
- Activists and allies in different countries to organize campaigns demanding protection against persecution for the athletes who choose to protest against homophobia and neglect of human rights in Russia from the Olympic committees,
- People all over the world to demand a change in the rules of the Olympics that limit the right to protest against discrimination,
- Support for the activists facing persecution in Russia, including those who have to seek asylum in the EU and other countries,
- Protests during international visits of Russian officials or celebrities which are known for their homophobic views.
Rainbow Association (Moscow-based LGBT activist group)
March for Equality (LGBT and women’s rights campaign)
Russian LGBT Sport Federation
Committee for a Workers’ International (Russia)
Left Socialist Action
Pussy Riot Support Group
Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Human Rights Watch’s Minky Worden in the Washington Post: Russian officials up to President Vladimir Putin have been trying to reassure the International Olympic Committee that its laws against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people won’t have an impact on the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. Moscow has said that it will respect international norms against discrimination under the agreement it made when it was awarded the Olympics.