Flamboyant US skater Johnny Weir has proven a good sport over comments made by Eddie McGuire during Channel Nine’s Winter Olympics coverage.
The skater, who finished fifth in the Men’s Figure Skating event seemed to shrug off any controversy, by blowing Eddie McGuire a kiss and saying, “Goodnight Eddie I love you. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi!”
Last night in the highights show Vancouver Gold, Eddie McGuire referred to the controversy that had been triggered by his banter with Mick Molloy.
Although the network has yet to make any statement on the media storm, McGuire sought to put some context on the enigma that is Weir.
As noted here yesterday, Weir is an extrovert performer, frequently attracting attention for his appearance, personality, and yes even his athletic skill.
McGuire, chatting with Leila McKinnon, was in a less derisive mood than he had been with Mick Molloy and careful to compliment Weir’s distinctive act.
“The best way to describe him is he’s the Lady Gaga of Figure Skating. He’s a showman. He really plays up his sexuality, his outrageousness, he’s very entertaining,” said McKinnon.
McGuire added, “He won’t come out and say whether he’s gay or straight or anything like that, but even beforehand he threatened to wear fur as his outfit, fox fur and of course the PETA group came out. He had death threats, he’s actually had to go into the village-”
“And in the village, he’s living with one of the women and he’s gone out and bought pink bathmats and candles. He said, ‘I definitely couldn’t room with one of the boys,'” said McKinnon.
“He’s winding everybody up and I suppose that’s where we might have tumbled in the other night by not explaining it properly back home,” admitted McGuire. “But he is the talk of the town and as I was saying there is a real rift between those saying the athleticism is going out of the figure skating, there’s too much show business, but Johnny’s got other things on his mind too because he might well be going for gold, but he’s looking to put a bit in the ‘skyrocket’ as well.”
Nine then played a clip from Weir’s own series Be Good Johnny Weir from the Sundance Channel.
McGuire also held up a full page ad for the series from US Magazine, with the words: ‘Bad has never been so good for skating’s favourite drama queen.’
“But the thing is he can skate,” added McGuire.
Mick Molloy had already left Vancouver to fulfill previous commitments in Australia and was clearly unable to participate in a discussion. Nine had been adamant it wasn’t about to apologise for a story it felt was generated by media and not by viewers. It addressed the issue on air instead.
Foxtel also got caught up in the controversy when it issued a Press Release that accused Nine of being homophobic. CEO Kim Williams apologised to Nine CEO David Gyngell yesterday afternoon, acknowledging the contents of the document were “disgusting.”
Meanwhile, Nine was sure to cover all bases, as Giaan Rooney interviewed Johnny Weir after he finished his event. Weir told Rooney even though he wasn’t the most decorated skater he was thrilled audiences had joined him on his journey. He even spoke about wanting to visit Australia, wearing speedos and swimming for great white sharks.
Surely Nine could oblige before Seven gets the idea to sign him for Dancing with the Stars?
UPDATE: Johnny Weir will be interviewed by Eddie McGuire tonight (Sunday) on Vancouver Gold.