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Johnny Weir caves to PETA 'threats,' will not wear fur for Olympics

Jan 29, 2010, 6:00 PM EDT

A nasty business, this Olympic figure skating. It’s not for the meek. Just as the controversy over a Russian ice dancing team’s costumes had begun to dissipate, three-time National Figure Skating champion Johnny Weir is fighting his latest battle with animal rights activists. Or he’s surrendered, to be more precise; walking towards PETA’s front lines with his hands up and kicking his fur costume ahead of him. Weir has been under fire from animal lovers for quite some time over his wearing real fur with his costumes, and finally announced today that he would switch to fake fur because “several threats were sent to me about disrupting my performance in the Olympic Games.” But Weir is being less than truthful, says a spokesman for the organization Friends of Animals.


Weir said he would “tweak” the costume he had planned to wear in his long program at the Vancouver Winter Games, replacing the white fox fur with the fake variety.
But he also said it was all under duress. Those kitten-loving bastards.

“I made this decision after several threats were sent to me about disrupting my performance in the Olympic Games and my costume designer, Stephanie Handler, was repeatedly sent messages of hate and disgust,” Weir said in a statement first published by icenetwork.com. “I do not want something as silly as my costume disrupting my second Olympic experience and my chance at a medal, a dream I have had since I was a kid.”

Weir said People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had been bugging him about his fur-wearing tendencies since the 2006 Olympics, sending him “nasty hate mail” and “videotapes of animals being skinned.”

In response, Weir said, he would send the group an autographed photo, on which he would draw a chipmunk with X’s for eyes.

Not exactly the Hatfields and the McCoys.
So what was PETA’s response to Weir’s announcement? Please enjoy this lovely flower arrangement! From The PETA Files:

There isn’t anything sillier than an animal wearing another animal’s fur, so we hope that fur is forever gone from Weir’s wardrobe and that the flowers we’ve sent him to say thanks brighten up his dressing room as he prepares to take home the gold.

UPDATE: Just received an email from Anai Rhoads, who is the director of media relations for Friends of Animals.

I want to clear a couple of things up:

1. No one threatened Johnny Weir (apart from the comments to articles online, I’m sure, written by upset individuals). Just finished an interview with the NYT and was told that Weir’s publicist had no proof of a threat whatsoever. Never called the police, nothing. This is something that needs to be addressed – an Olympic figure skater is saying he received death threats, yet never called the police?

2. PETA has nothing to do with our letter, press release or campaign. The Associated Press contacted us last night to announce that Weir had decided to respond to our open letter. Weir’s statement is solely applied to Friends of Animals, and no other org.

PETA replied to our victory of getting Weir to not wear fur, by sending Weir flowers. That’s the most involvement that org had with this year’s issue.

I am the one who sent a press release to Stephanie Handler. The release I sent (link below) was processed through PRNewsWire. They have a policy against accepting releases that are threatening, abusive and so on. In addition, Handler herself gave me her fax number to send it to her. Not exactly a “hateful” interaction between us, nor was it unsolicited as Weir’s publicist claims.

Basically, the news broke. Weir saw that there were over 11,000 responses within two hours of USA Today posting the piece on their site – and reacted by lying to divert attention from the issue.

Press release here.

***
Weir Says He Will Wear Fake Fur at Olympics [New York Times]
Olympic skater goes faux — for now [The PETA Files]
Weir says he’ll wear faux, not fox fur, after receiving ‘threats.’ [Friends of Animals]

  1. len - Jan 29, 2010 at 7:23 PM

    nothing like crushing peoples freedoms.

  2. fxyvgngrl - Jan 29, 2010 at 11:44 PM

    What freedoms did that animal have when it was anally electrocuted, trapped or skinned alive?

  3. Tony Metler - Jan 30, 2010 at 12:39 AM

    Stop it, Foxy Virgin Girl – you’re getting me hot! No, my mistake – that’s the anal electrocution again.

  4. Skaterfan - Jan 30, 2010 at 4:58 AM

    You know, I am a meat eater. Hate the whole vegetarian thing. Humans are carnivores. But, to wear the fur of an animal that was killed soleley for that fur when there is a suitable substitute, is just stupid and wasteful. We’ve already pretty much raped this planet,and have left no future for our grandkids,etc. – so this is a good time to single out an effete US skater and show him we mean buisness.

  5. Robert - Feb 13, 2010 at 4:47 PM

    Weir only thinks about HIMSELF and what is best for HIM. He doesn’t care about animals. He also lied through his teeth about “getting death threats from PETA”. They do a lot of crazy things but death threats aren’t in their arsenal. What a piece if human waste. Now I have reason to watch the Olympics to root against him.

  6. Rights - Feb 14, 2010 at 7:41 AM

    PETA………People Eating Tasty Animals.
    If you don’t like fur, that your option, I do not like beets but don’t threaten people who do.
    When are you whack jobs going to get it ? I tell you what, threatening people can get you killed. I suggest you check the extreme posture and grab reality or perhaps you well threaten the wrong individual some day. If you really need conflict, join the military and do something to deserve being an American, and drop the Jane Fonda whining.

  7. Veronika - Feb 23, 2010 at 1:17 AM

    1. PETA does send death threats. There have been reported incidents.
    2. To root against an amazing olypic skater for his wardrobe is immature and proves my theory about PETA and their supporters:
    Love animals, save them all! Hate people, kill all who oppose PETA!
    3. This article is probably very far from the truth, considering I have had first hand experiences with these PETA terrorists.
    Johnny Weir, along with every one else in this world, can wear fur if he wants to. You don’t like it PETA? Suck it. We have the right to wear fur. You do not have the right to threaten to kill us. Humans are omnivores by nature, veganism and vegetarianism goes against the nature of our bodies and is extremely unhealthy. People say with the right supplements, it can work. But if you need supplements to help keep you alive, that’s a sign right there that something is wrong. PETA and their supporters are unjust and heinous to those who oppose them. My grandmother who comes from northern Poland, a place where fur was and still is prominent and accepted, due to not only to climatic reasons but also because the people there are just nicer) was verbally attacked, on the verge of being physically attacked by them. Luckilly there were cops near by.
    Aside from that, I will support Johnny no matter how much fur he wears.