Olympic skater Johnny Weir’s wardrobe DYSfunction

U.S. Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir sure has it rough. Because Weir regularly chooses to wear real fur as part of his skating costumes, he gets “postcards and nasty hate mail and videotapes of animals being skinned” from animal rights groups.

What a nuisance. If only those inconsiderate animals would have the decency not to be skinned alive on camera. Then Weir wouldn’t have to be troubled by it.

Fortunately Johnny, Yahoo! Sports contributor Chris Chase feels your pain. He rushed to back you up, with this defense of fur wearing:

“It’s [Weir’s] job to look flamboyant. There’s no need to listen to a small but vocal group who don’t like it. Nothing would ever get accomplished if everyone in the world had to sign off on everything first.”

Mr. Chase, allow me to clarify. This is not a matter of personal taste, or a group of decorators preferring pink to orange. Animal welfare advocates are not looking for creative control, sign-off, or even a vote on Weir’s various wardrobe entries.

This is a matter of right and wrong, and animal cruelty is wrong. Imagine if we told pedophiles: “Feel free to date whomever you want. Don’t listen to those who don’t like your choice.”

Johnny Weir, on the other hand, does understand that such torture is wrong. He just doesn’t particularly care:

“I totally get the dirtiness of the fur industry and how terrible it is to animals. But it’s not something that’s the number one priority in my life. “

Mr. Weir, did you know that you can still withhold support for something “dirty” and “terrible” without making it number one priority in your life? You need not call yourself an environmentalist to avoid littering. You don’t have to be a teetotaler to remember not to drink and drive. Is it that much of an inconvenience to wear faux fur?

And with further impeccable logic, Weir goes on to say:

“There are humans dying every day. There are thousands if not millions of homeless in New York City. Look at what just happened in Haiti.”

So if I understand correctly, because an earthquake claimed the lives and livelihoods of a staggering number of people in Haiti, it’s only fair that Johnny Weir should get to wear fur?

Or do you mean that instead of advocating for animals, we should all be focused on helping the dying and homeless? Adult literacy programs, pollution control, and endowments for the arts be damned!

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again for the benefit of Johnny Weir. Suffering is suffering, no matter the species. It’s no picnic living on the streets of New York, and it’s no party to be skinned alive.

Finally, Mr. Weir says he “likes fur and…things that come from dead animals.” Well that makes sense. I like free money and not having to work for a living. I guess I should just rob a bank or hope slavery again becomes legal. Sure would be nice not to have to lift a finger.

In addition to the mail and video tapes, Weir also received threats. That, of course, is not ok. And let me be clear: The vast majority of animal advocates are outraged and embarrassed that anyone associated with this movement thinks countering violence with violence is justifiable. Death threats, destruction, and terrorism are never acceptable forms of protest.

Fortunately, editorial pieces are fair game.

And finally, a note to Weir and Chase: Rhinestones, pink sequins, gold lame, and mesh can all be very flamboyant – and are completely animal free.

-Leslie Smith