Johnny Weir to Eddie’s rescue

The most telling line of Eddie McGuire’s face to face interview with US figure skater Johnny Weir came in the closing minutes, last night.

“I appreciate your support,” said Eddie.

It was the exact same sentiment Paul ‘Fatty’ Vautin used when he invited Gay Rugby Union team onto the NRL Footy Show on air after a sketch with Matthew Johns was going to see them taken before the Anti Discrimination board.

Make no mistake, Nine’s studio interview with Johnny Weir was not Nine supporting Weir, it was the reverse. And it was essential damage control after the controversy that has surrounded McGuire since his chat with Mick Molloy last week.

It had already been addressed on Friday night by McGuire, but there’s nothing like getting the man at the centre of the story to come along and smile for the cameras. If it boosted the audience figures as a curiosity piece, so much the better.

Strictly speaking, McGuire’s original comments were never homophobic, but they were decidedly clumsy. While the network, Footy Shows and AFL have a reputation for being blokey, McGuire has a history of supporting Collingwood’s gay cheer squad, the Pink Magpies, and he even interviewed kd lang after the Opening Ceremony. Working in entertainment, McGuire knows he has plenty of gay colleagues.

But lines with the words “closet” and “Brokeback” in the context they were used were unfunny and unhelpful. McGuire raised the issue with Weir last night.

“Some people have taken it as an insult, and I respect their opinions,” said McGuire.

“I’ve heard about that,” replied Weir.

“At no stage were we trying to be insulting. We were taking the Mickey, which is an Australian way, but I understand how people can be insulted by that. So we were not here to be pushing any particular barrow. You join in a lot of the fun of the fair on this sort of stuff. When does it cross over for you? When does it become malicious?”

“When I’m threatened,” said an articulate Weir. “I don’t have a problem with people questioning me as a person, my lifestyle, my life. I don’t have a problem. Everyone is inquisitive. Everybody has a comment to make or a question to ask, it’s human nature, it’s people. I’m strong enough to deal with anything, unless I get threatened.”

Nine is now poised to make Weir a star in Australia, and could adopt him as its very own Carson Kressley, finding room for him on various lifestyle or variety shows if it happened to fit with his training schedule.

And finally, last night’s interview with Weir was also edited.

If producers had bothered to edit the first chat with Mick Molloy none of the subsequent controversy would have emerged in the first place.


  1. It’s only a big deal if it’s about you or affects you personally, right? If it isn’t or it doesn’t, no big deal, right? Wrong! Johnny Weir was Not paid for this interview, btw. And thank you to those of you who recognized what an intelligent, charming, articulate person he is!

  2. I just thought we were so beyond caring that someone is as camp as a row of tents. In this day and age, do we care? That Eddie and Mick thought they were on the money holding Weir up to justify mocking the figure skating as gay was incredibly dated.

    I agree with the article. It definitely was Weir saving Eddie. Alas, Weir gets no corporate sponsorship. Therefore he has to promote himself and plug his show to support his career. (And of course, gets pummelled for that, too.) I just wish he’d been able to take Eddie on in his comments and stick the boot in. But Weir is boxed into having to be the good sport and show that gays (if he is, he won’t say – so I’m reluctant to say) have a sense of humour, too.

    Media Watch did a nice little dig at dumb Eddie, too. His “correcting” of Johnny Weir’s crossing himself (eagle-eyed micks) was cornered when it was pointed out that JW is a Russophile and that he crossed himself in the way the Russian Orhadox folk do.

    Obviously the Gay movement (and I guess all of us) still has a lot of work left to do. Reminding the likes of Eddie and Mick that being an effeminate man is a big zero in the noteworthy stakes.

  3. Secret Squïrrel

    “Eddie was clearly nervous to be so near an openly gay man”.
    Well that’s just because he was concerned about catching gay bugs. I always make sure I wash myself thoroughly afterwards, if I have intimate relations with a homosexual LOL.

    All joking aside, while the original comments weren’t exactly homophobic, they were certainly ill-advised and only serve to reinforce entrenched negative feelings towards this marginalised group. The interview with Weir was Nine’s attempt to protect their investment in Eddie and reverse some of the tarnishing of their “Golden Child”.

  4. I have to admit straight up, I am an Eddie fan…(another minority it seems)…..I agree with Andrew that people are getting offended much too quickly……anyway thats my last comment on this subject!

    Also think Nines coverage is great!…(another minority))

  5. Roy and HG have been having fun with Eddie and Johnny’s awkward interview, so it is great that Eddie’s clumsy attempt to imitate them has provided them with more material.

  6. Thank god for Foxtel’s coverage, Nine’s has ben appaling especially Eddie’s contribution.

    The Games would have been a chance to redeem yourself Nine. Wrong choice of driver it seems.

  7. The interview was obviously trying to save McGuire’s reputation. What gives me the irrates is that McGuire started off as a sports journalist. He should have the skill to commentate about an athlete in an appropriate way. He seems to have gone over for a holiday. Ed needs to remember he isn’t a comic. Leave it to Molloy.

    I agree with someone’s thoughts re Camplin. Her voice is so annoying. Having her sitting with Eddie makes her more annoying. She’s on the board at Collingwood now. So I imagine it’s only the beginning……….

  8. Talking about who has won and who has lost, hopefully the winner is Johnny Weir as no one enjoy’s being mocked and insulted.

    Was this more back peddling or was it sincere enough to put a line in the sand.

  9. I saw about 10 minutes of this interview – all I can say is that Weir is a gem of a person, has a killer personality, and deserves success in whatever field he wants to venture into. McGuire was a little sheepish, but you could see that he truly was thankful for Weir coming on and clearing the air.

  10. @Andrew

    So i suppose you have no problems with “taking the p*ss” at issues concerning any historically oppressed minority, be it the pay gap, Indigenous health, slavery, the fact that homosexuals cannot get married…etc?…so long it’s veiled under the guise of p*ss taking. Being ignorant isn’t uniquely Australian, it’s just that we choose to glorify and nationalise it.

    There is a difference between poking fun of an individual’s characteristics and making snide remarks about sexuality in general.

  11. @ Andrew – it wasn’t making it a bigger deal than it is. Sons, daughters, brothers and sisters are killing themselves because of how the mainstream media can negatively portray homosexuality (or anything that’s different). Thankfully most media now get this. You can take the p**s without targeting a minority. Roy and HG are a perfect example. They can mock the costumes or the routines but they don’t target an aspect of a competitor. Everyone gets the treatment.

  12. Desperate, that’s all it was. Weir showed class, but it was just Eddie grovelling and wanting to prove a point. But too late Eddie. And the coverage has been terrible by Nine and particularly Eddie. All the complaints about Seven’s Olympics are nothing compared to Nine’s disaster.

  13. bettestreep2008

    I watched this and it was obviously a “damage control” piece.

    Johnny Weir showed how mature and professional he was – while Eddie was clearly nervous to be so near an openly gay man.

    And when Eddie made cracks about Johnny coming over to “clean for him” and then added yet another AFL remark – that’s when I kicked the TV in disgust.

    What next Eddie? Making Johnny an “honorary” member of Collingwood????

    And if you thought this “interview” was appalling – notice how much Eddie drrools over fellow Collingwood Board Member Alisa Camplin!

    These games have been totally ruined by Eddie Everwhere!

  14. Ed McQuire loves the gays – they’re nice and fabulous arent they?

    Sigh. I love how he has made himself the victim in all this. He knew what he was saying and it was in the exact context he wanted it to be, he’s just surprised that stuff dont fly anymore and he’s being pulled up about it.

    But I wish he’d know better. A lot of guys look up to him from his footy show days and Collingwood stuff – when he makes a homophobic remark and gets away with it and then demands support from the victim, he’s making it okay for them to go and make someone’s time at the pub that night a living hell just because they’re wearing pink or drinking a “girly” drink or whatever hundred excuses they’ve got to go someone because they’re showing a lack of masculinity, or what they percieve to be a lack of masculinity.

    It’s like when Sam Newman said a pretty hateful thing re: gays a few years ago and I remember one of his cohorts came out and publicly supported him saying he didnt mean it and doesnt deserve the criticism.

    Good on Weir for rising above it, I just hope later when the craziness of this year dies down for him he looks back on this and realises what he’s unwittingly let Ed McGuire get away with.

  15. Wow Nine really is in damage control / suck up mode with “Nine is now poised to make Weir a star in Australia, and could adopt him as its very own Carson Kressley, finding room for him on various lifestyle or variety shows”

  16. Typical seat-of-the-pants damage control by Nine. Wonder how much moola they had to pay Weir to front for the interview? Plenty, I imagine. As you say, a bit of judicious editing in the first place would have meant that none of this brain dead, unedifying mess would have happened. If they now hire Weir to appear on various TV shows for them, I will scream. So freakin’ cynical and opportunistic.

  17. I got to agree with Eddie that we do take the p**s and that’s what I like about Australia.. It’s just people get offended too quickly and make it an even bigger deal than it is.

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