Anna Wintour calls out Margaret Court and Australian PM over LGBT rights
Vogue US editor Anna Wintour has delivered a scorching criticism of Australian tennis champion Margaret Court and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison over their opposition to LGBT+ rights.
Fashion legend Wintour spoke at a function in Melbourne on Thursday (January 24) while in the country to attend the Australian Open.
The tennis championship is held at Melbourne Park, which encompasses a sports arena named after Court, a retired tennis player who won multiple Grand Slams in her career before becoming a Christian minister in Perth.
Anna Wintour joins calls to rename Margaret Court Arena
A longtime tennis fan, Wintour acknowledged Court’s mastery of the game, but called out the champion’s record on LGBT+ rights and joined calls for the arena to be renamed.
“It is inconsistent for the sport for Margaret Court’s name to be on a stadium that does so much to bring all people together across their differences,” Wintour said, quoted in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
“This much I think is clear to anyone who understands the spirit and the joy of the game,” she continued. “Intolerance has no place in tennis. What we love [is] watching these remarkable men and women exceed themselves while being themselves in many different forms.
“Margaret Court was a champion on the court but a meeting point for players of all nations, preferences, and backgrounds should celebrate somebody who was a champion off the court as well,” she said.
As Australia prepared to vote on the marriage equality referendum in 2017, Court warned that holidays like Easter and Christmas would be cancelled as a consequence of same-sex marriage.
She has also claimed that homosexuality was an ungodly “lust for the flesh,” that LGBT+ tendencies in young people were “all the devil,” and that older lesbian tennis stars have ‘converted’ younger players.
Reacting to Wintour’s words, Court told ABC calls for renaming the arena were “another example of freedom of religion being under threat” and claimed she welcomes LGBT+ people in her church.
“They’ve been doing the flowers in the church for 14 years, and they’re my biggest fans,” she was quoted as saying.
Anna Wintour criticises Scott Morrison’s ‘backward’ views
In her speech at the Melbourne business function, Wintour also took aim at Australian PM Scott Morrison, who voted against same-sex marriage and sparked controversy in October when a government-commissioned review on religious freedom advised support for faith schools wishing to discriminate against LGBT+ pupils.
Morrison first appeared to support the position, but eventually promised to change the law so that no school could ban LGBT+ students.
Wintour however did not let Morrison off the hook: “I have been alarmed by your prime minister’s record on LGBTQ rights, which seems backward in all senses,” she said, quoted in The Guardian.
She added: “That no one can be expelled from school for their orientation should not require clarification. A government should protect its people, not make it unclear whether they will be accepted.”