Johnny Weir was last night’s guest on Chelsea Lately with Chelsea Handler, and I’m sure it’s a surprise to no one that gay topics were front and center. Indeed, during the segment Handler referred to Weir as gay several times, and even though he’s never said those words himself, Weir didn’t bat an eye.
But it was when the topic turned to Weir’s arch rival, fellow American skater and Olympic Gold medalist Evan Lysacek, that things got interesting.
When Handler asked if Weir and Lysacek got along, Weir emphatically said, "No." Then he added, "We’re fine. He’s the Olympic champion and congratulations to him, but no. You know–"
Weir then made a hand gesture that was either meant to be dismissive or limp-wristed. If that had been the end of it, I would’ve said he was being dismissive, but it wasn’t the end of it.
Handler then asked Weir about rooming with Lysacek’s ex-girlfriend, using the word "girlfriend" in quotes. Then when Weir referred to her as Lysacek’s "ex-girlfriend" he did so with a wink clearly meant to imply she was no such thing, presumably because Weir thinks he’s gay. When Handler commented on the wink, Weir denied he’d winked at all.
Much of a hypocrite, Johnny?
For someone who doesn’t think he needs to specifically address his own sexuality (something which I’ve staunchly defended), it’s pretty lousy of him to imply things about someone else’s.
Part of the reason I’ve defended Weir is because of the homophobia he faces both from the judges and from potential advertisers which help pay skater’s bills and which are notoriously skittish about gay celebrities.
For Weir to expose Lysacek to the same risks by trying to out him is unconscionable. It makes him seem mean, petty, and frankly, jealous of Lysacek’s success. Weir should be ashamed of himself and someone needs to have a talk with Handler about when it’s funny to joke about someone being gay and when it’s not.
Both Weir and Handler were also annoying for their insistence that ice skating itself is inherently gay. When discussing the Stars on Ice controversy where Weir was reportedly excluded because he’s "not family friendly," Chandler pointed out that "family friendly" really meant "not gay", to which Weir responded by saying, "It’s figure skating, so we really can’t uphold that kind of argument. It’s figure skating."
As much as I hate the idea put forth by Skate Canada that skating needs to be "butched up" to make it safe for straight boys, I also hate the idea that figure skating is inherently gay apparently because it’s artistic, graceful and involves elaborate costumes. That point of view is just as limiting and demonstrates a mindset that says "gay" only equals "flamboyant." While there is nothing wrong with flamboyant as personified by Weir, it is ridiculous to imply that gay can’t also be butch and powerful, perhaps even at the same time as being artistic.
Last night’s episode also featured some rather unfunny gay-baiting and stereotypes during the roundtable. Now humor is subjective and one person’s "bust-a-gut funny" joke is another person’s "that’s over the line" joke. And to be fair, Handler frequently has gay comedians cracking gay jokes. But I really could’ve done without the two straight guys’ mincing impersonations of gay men, bathroom jokes and debating whether one guy thought the other guy was gay.
I expect that kind of stuff from morning radio, not Chelsea Lately.