In a fascinating follow-up to our earlier story that NBC Russia Olympics commentator Johnny Weir claimed in his bio to be working with the Russian government – an apparent conflict of interest for someone covering Russia for NBC – Weir’s agent is now writing the entire affair off as “a typo.”
Up until yesterday morning, when our story broke, Weir’s bio at Premiere Speakers Bureau claimed that the former self-proclaimed “figure skating superstar” “works” with the “Russian consulate in New York City.”
Here is the relevant portion of Weir’s bio at Premiere, before it was removed earlier yesterday:
The new bio for Weir over at Premiere no longer mentions the Russian consulate:
In response to our story, Weir initially tweeted ignorance as to how anyone would ever think he worked at or for the Russian consulate:
Later in the day, when it became clear that “this stuff” came from Weir’s own bio, his agent chalked the entire affair up to “a typo.” As Buzzfeed’s Tony Merevick reports, Queer Nation’s Ken Kid wasn’t buying it:
[Weir agent Laina] Cohn said the line about working with the Russian consulate was a “typo” and that Weir “has always maintained that he supports the people of Russia (among people around the world) and his attendance at the Russian Children’s Welfare Society Gala in September of 2010 is one of those examples.”
Cohn said neither she nor anyone at her firm are responsible for the biography’s revision.
Queer Nation activists are not buying the explanation.
“That’s one hell of a typo,” Ken Kidd, a member of Queer Nation, told BuzzFeed. “Johnny Weir’s bio from the forum at Barnard, which specifically states he works for the Russian Consulate, has been on the website of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs for weeks.”
One hell of a typo, indeed.
And Kidd is correct. Johnny Weir’s bio used for his recent appearance at Columbia University only 9 days ago repeated the claim that he “works” with the “Russian consulate.” That typo sure seems to happen a lot.
Now, a “typo” is when you go to write “Weir,” and instead type “Wire” – almost a sort of unintentional anagram. A typo is not, however, adding the “Russian Consulate” as a client to your resume, out of thin air. We are to believe that Weir was trying to type what exactly when his fingers slipped and he (or someone on his behalf) accidentally typed “Russian Consulate” instead?
Maybe he was trying for: Salacious Stunner.
Or Nocturnal Aussies.
No, I’ve got it: Ultrasonic Anuses.
All kidding aside, Johnny Weir and NBC have another problem, beyond Weir’s increasing penchant for sticking his foot in his mouth (Weir recently claimed that Russia’s draconian new anti-gay law simply banned “anal sex in front of libraries,” he mocked the Russian vodka boycott that put this issue on the map, he also seemed to mock a gay Russian activist who was recently arrested under the new law, and he suggested during an interview that he’d like to be the first person to have oral sex in space). Weir’s new bio scrubs any mention of the Russian consulate, yet continues to speak of his work with the Russian Children’s Welfare Society. Yet, the only work I can find Weir having done with the children’s group – I did a Google search and scoured the Web site of the children’s group – is Weir having served on the host committee of a charity event in late 2010, at which he donated a signed poster of himself.
It was an event thrown “in collaboration with the Russian Consulate in New York City. And that is most assuredly not a typo, as it comes from the Web site of the Russian Children’s Welfare Society itself:
So here’s the problem. If Weir only did this one event thrown by the Russian children’s group and the Russian consulate, then how is he justifying mentioning the Russian children’s group in his newly-edited bio, but no longer mentioning the Russian consulate? It would appear to be an either or proposition – acknowledge both Russian organizations as real ties the NBC Russian Olympics commentator has, or delete both as typos. But claiming one, and dismissing the other, seems rather queer.
Video: Queer Nation protesting outside the NBC Sports Department holiday party at a restaurant/bar on East 30th Street in NYC last night. The banner was sewn by Gilbert Baker, the originator of the community’s rainbow flag.