Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Skating on Thin Ice: Stars on Ice Says No to Johnny Weir

The perennial post-Olympic Stars on Ice tour is getting under way , but it will be without Olympian Johnny Weir. He was not invited to the Stars on Ice party. They say they just don’t have room to include everyone, nothing personal against Johnny Weir. Johnny thinks it is because they don’t think he is “family friendly.” GLAAD agrees.

I think the figure skating “community” in general and, in this case, the Stars on Ice people in particular are a little uptight about how male figure skaters are perceived. They are uncomfortable with Johnny Weir’s refusal to be anything other than who he is: A male skater whose skating style embraces everything that makes the figure skating gender police nervous: sequins, flowers, leotards, artistry, sassiness, flirtatiousness and make-up. Because of his gender expression, he is perceived as gay, but has declined to identify his sexual orientation for the media. He is outspoken about just about everything else. Put it all together and the figure skating poobahs just don’t know what to do with him. They wish he would just go away. They think he is bad for the image of male figure skating.

This blog includes a funny video clip about this whole thing.

For Stars on Ice to say they don’t have room for a member of the 2010 Olympic team is ridiculous, especially since skating audiences loves Johnny Weir. He knows how to put on a great show. He gets people clapping and cheering. He is a great performer. You’d think Stars on Ice would be thrilled to include a well known Olympic skater and three time National Champion who will bring in the crowds. But no, they have no room. They can’t include everyone, you know.

They have room for Jeremy Abbott, another member of the Olympic team who bombed at the Olympics (at least it looked like that to me. He was so nervous). He didn’t skate nearly as well as Johnny Weir did, but his costume was more manly (read boring) and his skating was definitely more butched up. He is more “family-friendly” I guess.

It was bad enough when a couple of ignorant Canadian broadcasters disparaged and mocked Johnny Weir on the air at the Olympics for his gender expression and assumed gayness. Now Stars on Ice is displaying the same kind of ignorance. Just because they try to camouflage it a little by claiming it is about roster limits, doesn’t make it any more acceptable. No room for a current Olympian and former National Champion and great showman? Are you kidding me?


Anonymous said...

Guess they don't want to sell tickets. Johny Weir has such a strong following of fans.

calugg said...

Obviously this is and is not about Johnny. The tour's rejected is a slap at Johnny, but it's also a "moral lesson" (cough, hack, cough), to other male skaters.

In my book, it's down right evil. And beans to dollars, I bet there are more than a few closeted execs who made this decision.

Just sayin...