Michael Knaapen

WATCH: Bilerico's John Becker Talks Johnny Weir on CNN

Filed By Michael Knaapen | February 14, 2014 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, The Movement
Tags: Carol Costello, CNN, Don Lemon, John Becker, Johnny Weir, Nicholas Benton, Olympics, Russia, Russian anti-LGBT laws, Russian propaganda law, Sochi, Sochi 2014

john-becker-cnn-weir.pngThis morning, Bilerico Editor-in-Chief John Becker (and, full disclosure, my husband) appeared on CNN Newsroom to discuss former Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir and what he has (or hasn't) done for LGBT rights as an NBC Sports Olympic commentator in Sochi, Russia.

Joining John and host Carol Costello were Falls Church News-Press owner and author Nicholas F. Benton, who also happens to be a personal friend of Weir's, and openly gay CNN news anchor Don Lemon.

John argued that Weir's previous inaccurate and unhelpful statements about Russia's crackdown on LGBT people, coupled with his silence in Sochi, mean that he's not doing enough to stand up for persecuted Russian gays. He also said that in the face of blatant human rights violations like Putin's "gay propaganda" ban, refusing to speak out against it is tacit complicity and cooperation with the law, the ultimate goal of which is to silence LGBT people.

Lemon said that Weir isn't obligated to be a gay activist just because he's gay any more than a black person is obligated to be a racial justice activist just because they're black. Benton contended that Weir's over-the-top costumes and flamboyant mannerisms are bold statements of support for equality in and of themselves and give hope to LGBT Russian youth.

Watch the segment after the jump, then weigh in. What do you think? Does Johnny Weir have an obligation to stand with Russian LGBTs and publicly condemn Putin's anti-LGBT crackdown, or are equality activists who demand Weir make a statement asking too much of him? Are Weir's outfits, costumes, and mannerisms a pro-LGBT statement in and of themselves?


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