Monday, May 24, 2010

Of Johnny Weir and PR and Long-Windedness

I created my blog here at BlogSpot a few days ago partly because I so enjoy reading Misfit Mimes blogs; and also because I am almost daily seeing or thinking of something related to Johnny Weir that is worthy of being talked about. I did write at least three JW related blogs through my Live Spaces account; however, I am nowhere near as funny as Binky/MM is. Truthfully my intent in my previous Johnny Weir musings has not necessarily been to come across as funny; frankly at least a couple of them came out of my mind and through my keyboard on to my computer screen because I was really pissed off at the time.

I can also be fairly long-winded; for example, my irritation with a comment on Facebook comparing this time in the USA's history with that of Nazi Germany around the time Adolf Hitler came to power led to President Obama is Not Adolf Hitler being posted. Granted, I definitely could have created a better title, but I believe I genuinely surprised the person I was responding to with the fact I know a lot about that particular historical period and could adequately respond to what she had to say. Another good example of my long-windedness (is that a word?) is Chicago Loses It's 2016 Olympic Bid, which grew out of the absolute glee I saw some of President Obama's detractors displaying over Chicago not getting the Olympics simply because the President is the former Senator from Illinois.

I started to respond to a blog originally posted by Misfit Mimes on May 4th, but I discovered my response was going to be too long-winded to be contained in a response. Therefore I decided to neglect the update to 'Weird, Alaska' one of my 'Criminal Minds' FanFics, and post my response here as my first blog instead.

I'm not going to summarize her blog, or quote it here, anyone can go read it, and if you don't read her already, I really recommend that you do. One of the things (among others) she was definitely right about here is that Johnny never should have been put in the position he was put in when he was forced to respond to Wendy Williams asking for a response to Evan Lysacek's comments.

Here is my response:

First, there is NO way Johnny could ever be protected completely from being ambushed, no matter who his PR team was. Maybe he could have been or should have been this time, but there's always going to be something or someone who might ask him a question he could be uncomfortable with, or be surprised about, and his answer is going to have to be on the fly and may not be as good as it would be if he had advance notice of the question. While I can't swear Wendy Williams enjoyed 'ambushing' Johnny Weir with her reading of Evan Lysacek's moronic comments, or that she normally does that sort of thing (I don't watch her often enough to say one way or the other!); it is definitely worth noting that there are hosts, reporters, television shows, etc. that do enjoy ambushing celebrities with questions they didn't expect, quotes they haven't heard or pictures they have not yet seen. I have seen numerous celebrities of all types and levels of popularity ambushed with things they should never have have been ambushed with. (Hello TMZ!) Many of these people have full time agents, manager and PR experts working with and for them, and it still happens!

Second, male figure skaters, no matter who they are, are never going to be the ideal client for any sponsor or agent. It doesn't matter who the skater is, or how good they are, what place they finished in at the Olympics, or how 'politically correct' they are or are not. Unfortunately for male figure skaters, this is simply a fact of life. It might seem to be idiotic to not jump at the chance to sponsor someone who is enormously popular with the fans, and would thus generate interest just by their name being associated with a project, but at the end of the day he's still a male figure skater, and some people are kind of funny about that. There's just not enough money floating around these days for sponsors/advertisers to spend, and frankly one of the things they do worry about is public perception. People may love Johnny's skating, or appreciate how candid he is, etc.; but at the end of the day, will your sponsorship of him cause any negative response from the public? Okay, in light of the trouble some sports figures have gotten into recently, this argument may seem pretty dumb, but public perception does play a role in all of this, whether it makes any sense or not.

Let me give you an example: Brian Boitano. Now, anyone who knows anything about Brian Boitano might instantly say 'hunh'? After all, even a casual fan knows BB has had a number of shows over the years (the 'Skating' tours; Skating Romance I, II, II; Three Masters of the Ice; Skating Kicks Back; Skate Against Hate; his annual holiday show among others), and every one of them had some sort of corporate sponsorship. However, it wasn't easy. When BB won his Olympic Gold Medal in Calgary in 1988, he was on top of the world. Sure there were some rumors about him, as there are about nearly every male figure skater; however he signed with a high powered sports agent (one of the top agents in the business at the time) and was well on his way. It should have been a no-brainer; BB is intelligent, talented, good-looking, a genuinely nice guy, and he won his gold medal in the best way possible-by giving the performance of a lifetime on the night he needed it the most. He was even genuinely friends with his biggest rival. However, despite his huge success with shows and in professional competitions, he was dropped by his original 'high-powered' agent. This was at least partly because he was, well, a male figure skater, and that fact just didn't mesh well with Mister High Powered Sports Agent's usual clients. Brian later admitted to being confused and depressed at the time, but as well as things worked out for him after that it turned out he didn't really need the guy. However, we know that isn't always the case for an athlete. And even BB was ambushed a time or two by reporters or interviewers.

One of the reasons we all find Johnny Weir so charming is because of his little quirks and his complete dedication to being himself. It's one of the things we love about him. And because we, his fans, know Johnny has a heart and a soul and genuinely cares about his family, his friends, his fans; it pains us to see him hurt, or made fun of, or to think that he might be embarrassed about something. We can try to protect him from that as much as we can, we can worry about whether he is getting the best advice he can, whether he is making the best career moves he could, and whether the people he is hanging around with are only interested in exploiting him or not.

What we can't do is protect JW from life's hard knocks. He already knows an awful lot about life's hard knocks because of how the figure skating establishment has messed with him over the years; and we've seen him really hurt by that, and we have seen him bounce back even stronger. We can talk about how he's an adult and he knows what he's doing, he has to make his own mistakes and so on. However, that doesn't and can't stop us from caring and from worrying. If it could we wouldn't really be his fans, would we? We can worry about how the 'war' between he and Evan is being perceived in the press, because it certainly did seem a little skewed in Evan's direction after the incident with Wendy Williams show and Evan's comments. Fans of Evan and Johnny jumped on articles at, but I personally was surprised by the claims of some Evan fans who tried to say Johnny has attacked Evan for years unprovoked and Evan never responded until now. Evans claims about Johnny 'whining' regarding not being picked for 'Stars On Ice' are easily refutable by anyone who cares to check on what was actually said, but how many people actually check? Frankly I think this is going to mostly blow over, and partly already has, and JW may also be one of those people who can get away in some fans minds with some of the things he says simply because some people think he says things like that all the time and it's not a big deal. Of course, we know he doesn't 'say things like that all the time', and we don't want people thinking he does. Another skater who could do that was Katarina Witt. She could get away with almost anything because she was Katarina and people expected her to say things and do things no one else said or did. However, as much as I came to respect Miss Witt over the years, and I admit I did not always like her; I'm not sure that's how I want Johnny Weir to be perceived...

Anyway, even though I went on and on and said very little that was really useful, I'm done now.

Please keep voting for Johnny as 'Most Addictive Reality Star' by adding #realityWEIR to all your tweets, or by going to NewNowNext Awards site and scrolling down to where he is the last one listed in the fifth category. We have until June 4th to vote on this one. Also, please vote for Johnny as 2010 Readers' Choice Skater(s) of the Year Award (Michelle Kwan Trophy). We have until July 15th on this one, and the winner will be announced in the August/September issue of SKATING, on the U.S. Figure Skating web site and on The trophy will be presented to the winner next season. Please be careful about clicking on the right name on this one please, because Evan Lysacek is listed directly above Johnny Weir!


PumaJ said...

You have nailed all of the controversies on the head. Thank you :-)

WheresMyKoppy said...

Thank you! I try!