On January 17 Johnny Weir did his free skate in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships wearing a bodysuit with a hint of fox fur on the shoulder. Animal-rights groups, predictably, are not having it. One such organization, called Friends of Animals, posted an open letter to Weir on their site asking him not to wear fur. They also contacted his costume designer, Stephanie Handler, yesterday. The AP explains:
Weir loves fashion, and his costumes tend to be on the avant-garde — some would say extreme — side. When the three-time U.S. champion redesigned his free skate costume before nationals, he had Handler add a tuft of white fox fur to the left shoulder.
Weir said he thought the costume was "lovely," but Friends of Animals disagreed.
"I totally get the dirtiness of the fur industry and how terrible it is to animals. But it's not something that's the No. 1 priority in my life," Weir added. He also notes the thousands of people dying in Haiti and said he prefers to focus his energy on causes related to humans. "While that may be callous and bad of me, it's my choice."
Weir said PETA has also contacted him, and some people have sent him videos of animals being skinned, but the most upsetting thing to him personally is that his costume designer is under attack. He asked her to add the furry shoulder, after all. "At least directly come to me and yell at me," he challenges the haters. "Don't attack my peeps." And in his final defense:
"Every skater is wearing skates made out of cow," Weir said. "Maybe I'm wearing a cute little fox while everyone else is wearing cow, but we're all still wearing animals."
He may as well head to Vancouver with everyone on his side. Surely he's familiar with PETA's runway-storming ways at Fashion Week. Does he want to risk sabotage of his "Poker Face" free skate? (If you haven't watched that, go ahead and take four minutes. It's necessary.) We certainly don't.
Animal Rights Group Unhappy With Weir Wearing Fur [AP via ABC News]