Johnny Weir: sometimes it’s easy to make ethical choices.
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I’d like to call out Olympic skater Johnny Weir on his response to people who decried his (cancelled) plans to wear fur trim on his uniform. The Olympics may be over, but this kind of poor logic exists elsewhere and should be addressed:
“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. There are humans dying everyday. There are thousands if not millions of homeless people in New York City. Look at what just happened in Haiti. I tend to focus my energy, if there is a cause, on humans. While that may be callous and bad of me, it’s my choice.
Every skater is wearing skates made out of cow. Maybe I’m wearing a cute little fox while everyone else is wearing cow, but we’re all still wearing animals.”
It’s hard for me to believe that an adult would come up with an argument this poor to defend their unethical choices. Yes, Johnny, that is “callous and bad” of you, which is why people were upset.
I would understand, to some degree, if Weir were discussing leather. Not that leather is less cruel than fur, really. Leather is often a byproduct of the beef industry, but it’s such an important byproduct–their most profitable, by far–that some people have gone so far as to refer to it as a coproduct.
That said, though, the skates that Olympic athletes use are probably all made out of leather as a default. If Weir were to go out of his way to force the manufacture of special non-leather Olympic standard skates, he could, hypothetically, be taking time away from his supposed charitable work in New York City and Haiti.
As it is, though, Weir made a conscious decision to pick fur for his costume–an specific choice on his part, since it’s not a standard part of Olympic uniforms. And now he’s claiming that while he understands how terrible fur is, he’s more concerned with helping people, so he had to choose to support the fur industry–as if his options were either a) fur or b) beating up an orphan, rather than a) fur or b) …no fur.
Sometimes it’s not so easy to make ethical choices, but a lot of the time, it couldn’t possibly be simpler. This is one of those cases. When kinder options are that readily available–at no detriment to ourselves or to others–it’s really our obligation to take advantage of them. I’ve heard some very positive things about Weir’s progressive attitudes–mostly in regards to his refusal to play the “is he gay or is he straight?” media game, as he (correctly) feels that it’s no one’s business but his own–so perhaps there is hope for him after all.