Stars on Ice denies Johnny Weir is not ‘family friendly’
Stars on Ice has denied it rejected figure skating champion Johnny Weir for not being “family friendly”.
Last week, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation alleged that sponsors disliked Weir’s perceived homosexuality.
The athlete has refused to clarify whether his sexual orientation but his flamboyant style has led many to believe he is gay.
Stars on Ice issued a rebuttal of GLAAD’s claims, but Weir himself has said they are true.
Weir told CNN his agent had approached Stars on Ice several times in recent years but had been consistently rejected.
“The reaction I got was that I wasn’t family friendly enough and that came, allegedly, from the sponsors,” he said.
“I’m not going to get on the ice and strip down naked and roll around.”
He added: “I know I’m a bit outrageous at times and I say what’s on my mind, but I don’t understand how that isn’t family friendly in any way,” he said.
A Stars on Ice spokeswoman said: “We are disappointed that there is untrue and inaccurate information being disseminated. Please be assured that the ‘gender identity and sexual orientation’ of cast members has never been a consideration in the selection of tour performers.
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“Stars on Ice recognises Johnny Weir is a talented athlete and we appreciate the contributions he has made to the international figure skating community throughout his career.
“The current cast of the Stars on Ice tour includes very talented performers including the Olympic Gold medalist, Evan Lysacek and the current US national champion, Jeremy Abbott.
“While Stars on Ice wishes it could accommodate many more talented skaters as part of our cast, the fact is we cannot sign every skater.”
GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios said that Stars on Ice was reinforcing a “double standard”.
Mr Barrios said: “Johnny Weir is a two time Olympian and three time US champion.
“Other athletes of his calibre would be granted the opportunity to perform during national tours like Stars on Ice. By choosing not to bring the performances and talent of Johnny Weir to American audiences, Stars on Ice is reinforcing an unfortunate double standard that is too often applied to gay athletes and athletes perceived to be gay.”