UPDATE, 4:45 PM: NBC just released a statement in response to Johnny Weir’s comments this morning that he feels “remorse” for insulting protesters during an appearance Monday 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.
PREVIOUS: Bob Costas will have to up his game to maintain his reputation as the mouth that roars at NBC Sports during the Winter Olympics, since two-time Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir was added to the on-air team. Costas, who’s known for his outspoken commentary, sounded more like a neutered pit bull the other day when he told the Associated Press he won’t comment on Russia’s so-called “gay propaganda” law because he’s hoping to land an interview with what AP called “responsible people” (read: Russian President Vladimir Putin). While the media wonders what happened to the Costas who vowed in 2012 to rip the International Olympic Committee over its refusal to hold a moment of silence honoring Israelis killed at the 1972 Games in Munich, Weir’s out there making headlines even though the Games don’t happen until February. This week, Weir’s “news” took the form of calling those who protested his refusal to boycott the Russian Games “idiots like the ones outside dumping vodka in the street.”
NBC, meanwhile, hasn’t gotten back to us about Weir, who announced on Today in late October that he was retiring from competition and joining the the network’s team for the Sochi Olympics. Protesters made the connection during Weir’s appearance Monday at Barnard College in New York; some of those those who were there protesting Weir’s assertion that the Games “are not the place to make a political statement” held a banner that read, “Weir: Russian Olympic Clown; NBC: Naïve Bloody Collaborators.”
Watch on Deadline
This morning, Weir was back in the news again, this time writing in the Falls Church [Va.] News-Press: “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 cheerleading antics for one and all.”
He said it’s been awhile since he was “last protested in person” and that he was in “high alert and high self-protection mode” because he’s been dealing with an “unsafe fan situation.” But he added, ” I realized that there is no excuse to hurl insults at those who oppose you or those who think differently than you.” During his appearance Monday in NYC, Weir was quoted as having characterized the new anti-gay law in Russia as “no anal sex in front of libraries” and that he would not boycott the Games because “just to piss off Putin is not a reason not to field a team.”
“He is selling out millions of people to satisfy his desire not to forgo his income or status,” NYC paper Gay City News reported protester Ann Northrop of Queer Nation as having said of Weir’s decision to cover the Sochi Games. “Is this what he would have done in Germany in 1936?”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.