"Sponsors of those [sic] Stars on Ice figure skating tour apparently think that Olympian Johnny Weir is too flamboyant for their show. Weir reportedly prohibited from participating because he is not, quote, 'family friendly,'" MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan complained shortly before 5 p.m. on his MSNBC program today, citing a report by a blog published by GLAAD [the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation].
Ratigan griped that despite Weir's athletic credentials and well-known support of his family -- he's financing his brother's college education and supporting his father, who is unable to work due to a disability -- that the sponsors of the show, including Smucker's, "apparently... don't view supporting your family as family-friendly."
Ratigan then noted an online petition circulating to include Weir in the tour, but failed to include any reply from Stars on Ice, although just a few minutes before Ratigan went on the air, at least one news source had noted that Stars on Ice denied GLAAD's allegation.
Gay/lesbian publication MetroWeekly.com's Chris Geidner published the following to the Web at 4:38 p.m. EST, about 13 minutes before Ratigan went on air to further GLAAD's complaint on air (emphases mine):
On Friday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the Smuckers Stars on Ice Tour denied allegations made by both U.S. Olympian Johnny Weir and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation that he has been kept out of the tour because he is ''not family friendly.''
Jennifer Cosgrove, a spokeswoman for Stars on Ice, responded to GLAAD, writing in a statement released to Metro Weekly, ''We are disappointed that there is untrue and inaccurate information being disseminated. Please be assured that the 'gender identity and sexual orientation' of cast members has never been a consideration in the selection of tour performers.''
GLAAD confirmed on Friday to Metro Weekly that the organization's anonymous source alleges that the ''family friendly'' comment came directly from the sponsors of the Stars on Ice Tour.
Despite that, Cosgrove responded to GLAAD by noting ''the comments mentioned regarding the Stars on Ice tour are simply not accurate.'' Cosgrove also has asked GLAAD to ''update its blog posting to include this important and accurate information about Stars on Ice.''
Cosgrove's statement did not specifically disclaim the allegation from GLAAD that Weir was deemed by Stars on Ice to be ''not family friendly.'' Cosgrove did not respond to a request for clarification on that point.
As for the reason behind Weir's exclusion, Cosgrove noted that Olympic Gold medalist Evan Lysacek and the current U.S. National Champion, Jeremy Abbott, were slated to particpate and said, ''While Stars on Ice wishes it could accommodate many more talented skaters as part of our cast, the fact is we cannot sign every skater.''
GLAAD did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding Cosgrove's denial.