One huge misconception about men’s figure skating is that the presence of out queer men in the sport means the sport isn’t homophobic. Quite the contrary – the competitors, the commentators, the officials, and the fans of the sport are often quite blatantly homophobic, as well as blatantly transphobic and misogynistic. Three-time US Champion and world bronze medalist Johnny Weir has frequently been the target of this homophobia, transphobia, and gender scrutiny, perhaps most memorably when two French-Canadian radio hosts called for him to take a gender test because his gender presentation blows their narrow, hateful minds.
Sadly, it’s not just commentators who are this ignorant and awful. One of Weir’s competitors, 2010 Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek, just jumped on the “gender test” bandwagon. A fan asked him on Twitter:
The question itself was offensive enough, but Lysacek didn’t have to reply. He did, however, and this was his reply:
Uh, the verdict is never out on anyone’s gender. One’s gender identity is what they say it is, period, full stop, end of story. Any argument to the contrary is pure bigoted bullshit. Weir has vocally and repeatedly identified himself as male. That Lysacek would publicly mock and question Weir’s gender identity is disgusting and unforgivable. And it’s not coincidental that this is about Weir, who receives a disturbing amount of scrutiny and gender-policing because he does not conform to “approved” heteronormatively masculine standards and because he is queer. This comment is a hurtful not just to Weir, but to every fan of his who is a member of the LBGTQI community or an ally. Hell, this comment is hurtful to everyone.
Let’s be clear – this wasn’t a mistake, a misstep, or a slip of the tongue. Lysacek went through his @replies on Twitter, deliberately selected this question, and then replied to it on his public Twitter, where it remained for close to 12 hours, despite the numerous fans tweeting him to tell him how offensive and horrible it was for him to say something like that. Here is a screencap that demonstrates that his reply remained on his Twitter while he continued to tweet about other subjects:
You can see the tweet in question, plus numerous other tweets. You can see that it is from his verified account. (You can also see that I had no idea how to screencap on my computer, which is slightly embarrassing.) There is no question that this tweet was legitimately from Lysacek.
If Lysacek had simply apologized, people might have been willing to forgive him. Instead, he tried to deflect the attention from himself in the most cynical, absurd way. He started to call attention a fake Evan Lysacek Twitter (the username of that fake Twitter was evanIysacek with a capital “I” instead of an “l,” which look identical on Twitter) and claimed he would never say any of the things on that fake Twitter.
Lysacek’s rep, Yuki Saegusa (@YukiSNYC on Twitter), retweeted the first message. EDITED TO ADD that Saegusa has now deleted her Tweet. It’s capped in someone’s Google reader here:
It’s seems like Lysacek and his PR team are trying to imply that it was actually the fake Evan Lyacek Twitter that said the “verdict was still out” on Weir’s gender ID. At the very least, it appears that Lysacek and Saegusa are trying to get the word out that there is a fake Evan Lysacek Twitter so the issue becomes more confusing and people question whether or not Lysacek even said such a thing. Instead of just owning up to Lysacek’s transphobic, homophobic remark and apologizing, Lysacek and his PR team are trying to obfuscate, or at the very least ignore, the issue. This kind of PR move is disingenuous and ridiculous.
Not only that, but this PR move was a giant failure for several reasons. First, while Lysacek was complaining about someone Tweeting horrible things from a fake Evan Lysacek Twitter, he had yet to remove his offensive Tweet about Weir from his Twitter. See these screencaps:
This screencap highlights that the Tweet in question actually came from Evan’s official and real Twitter – you see that the Twitter in question is EvanLysacek with a capital L. There is also my cap again:
EDITED TO ADD that someone was kind enough to mark up my cap so the proof that it’s Lysacek’s official Twitter is more clear:
Again, this demonstrates that the Tweet about Weir did actually come from Lysacek’s real, verified account, not a fake one. Shortly after this cap was taken, Lysacek deleted the Tweet about Weir. However, if Lysacek wanted this pathetic PR ploy to work, he probably should have deleted the offensive Tweet BEFORE he started claiming it was a fake Twitter who was saying such offensive things.
EDITED TO ADD that there are more screencaps and proof. Here is another screencap of Evan’s Twitter, taken by someone else at a slightly later time than I capped mine:
And here is a cap of a Google Reader page that also shows that Lysacek’s offical account made the Tweet about Weir’s gender ID:
Second, though there was a fake Evan Lysacek Twitter with that username, which has since been renamed to @notevanidiots, the fake Twitter never said anything about Weir’s gender. In fact, whoever runs the fake Evan Lysacek Twitter has been repeatedly distancing themselves from Lysacek’s hurtful comment, at one point Tweeting:
I am extremely disappointed in my actual person. No one should ever make a comment like that. I, fake Evan, promise to be better than that.
Damn. I like fake Evan Lysacek better than the real one.
To recap, Lysacek made an offensive, bigoted comment that mocked and questioned Weir’s gender ID. He left it up for hours and hours, while Tweeting about other things like who he was going to eat with. Instead of apologizing, he tried to deflect blame to a fake Twitter, then deleted the Tweet and now seems to be pretending it never happened. Everyone who watched this go down in real time knows that it happened and has screencaps to prove it, and if Lysacek continues to deflect blame or tries to pretend he was hacked, it will demonstrate that not only is he a bigot, but he also must think that his fans are total idiots who don’t know how Twitter works.
EDITED TO ADD that Evan has, in fact, started claiming he was hacked. He has deleted a number of his Tweets, including ones that had nothing to do with this entire controversy, and Saegusa deleted her Tweet about the fake Evan Lysacek account. If you’ve been following this, you will probably find it quite hard to believe that he was hacked. I think the screencaps speak for themselves. Here’s Lysacek crying hack:
EDITED TO ADD Lysacek has now deleted every Tweet of his since April that is not a retweet. I’m not sure if he’s gearing up to claim that everything he has tweeted since April was actually the work of a hacker or what.
EDITED AGAIN TO ADD that @fsonline on Twitter is reporting that Twitter “verified” that Evan was hacked, but there is absolutely no evidence indicating that this is true. Moreover, Evan has still not denounced any of the things his supposed “hacker” said, made any kind of statement, or attempted to explain this mess at all. If anyone has any official confirmation from Twitter that he was hacked, feel free to post it, but I haven’t found any yet.
ONE LAST EDIT It’s been brought to my attention that there is some suspicious stuff happening on Lysacek’s official Facebook page. For example, when he Tweeted about the fake Evan Lysacek Twitter and tried to shift the blame for his Tweet about Weir, a similar message was also posted to his Facebook page. This is my screencap of it:
You can see that the comment about the fake Evan Lysacek Twitter remains on his Facebook page, more than 24 hours after Lysacek deleted the Tweets from his verified, official Twitter account that shifted blame onto the fake account and started saying he was hacked. You can also see that Lysacek’s Facebook account has been updated to say that his Twitter was hacked.
Lysacek’s insistence that he was hacked makes no sense in light of this information. If the offensive Tweet about Weir and the Tweets about the fake Evan Lysacek Twitter were truly the work of someone who hacked Lysacek’s Twitter, then the same information about the fake Twitter account never would have been posted on Lysacek’s official Facebook page. The information that was supposedly disseminated onto Lysacek’s official Twitter feed by a hacker was also disseminated onto Lysacek’s Facebook and HAS NOT BEEN REMOVED, even though Lysacek’s PR team has updated his Facebook to say his Twitter was hacked. The only possible explanation is that Lysacek and his PR people made both the Tweets about the fake Evan Lysacek Twitter and the Facebook update about the fake Evan Lysacek Twitter. This makes their claim that Lysacek’s Twitter was hacked and that a hacker was Tweeting about Weir and fake accounts even more ridiculous and unbelievable.
THE EDITS KEEP COMING Lysacek has just “apologized.” Caps here:
Nothing in this apology acknowledges that Lysacek himself was the one that made the comment – in fact, the vague “Am taking measures to make sure this never happens again” seems to suggest that rather than taking responsibility for what he said, he’s trying to deflect the blame onto a hack AGAIN. Not to mention that if he couldn’t “apologize enough,” he probably would have started doing so right away, instead of trying to blame a fake Twitter and then calling hack.
There has still yet to be any independent verification or confirmation from Twitter that Lysacek was hacked. But instead of owning up to his commen, he continues to try to weasel out of responsibility, even while nominally apologizing for it. I see their PR strategy still relies on assuming Lysacek’s fans do not know how the Internet works.
This kind of behavior is unacceptable from anyone, but for a public figure to do it in a public forum is especially awful. It breaks my heart to think about the young queer, genderqueer, gender variant, transgender, and questioning figure skaters and fans of figure skating who had to see Lysacek mock someone’s gender ID and know that this how an Olympic gold medalist of their sport behaves.
As a figure skating fan, I’m disturbed and horrified that the current men’s Olympic gold medalist and ambassador of the sport is such an unapologetic bigot. I’m also disturbed and horrified that unless people start talking about this, telling their friends, and contacting his sponsors, Lysacek will most likely escape from this unscathed. The best thing to do is to refuse to be silent or forget about this – blog about it, link your friends to it, link it to other blogs, and contact his sponsors and let them know that they’re supporting a transphobe and a homophobe and you’re not okay with it. You can contact his sponsors here:
The Coca-Cola Company
P.O. Box 1734
Atlanta, GA 30301, USA
1.800.GET COKE (800.438.2653)
email@example.com (Media Inquiries)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Customer Inquiries)
To reach Evan or his agent directly and let them know what you think about this, you have a variety of options:
@EvanLysacek – Evan’s Twitter
@YukiSNYC – His agent Yuki Saegusa’s Twitter
Saegusa can also be contacted here:
767 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10153
Notes: These screencaps have been culled from a variety of sources in different timezones. None of them have had the information, the timestamps, or the words changed. The full-desktop screencap is from my computer, which is on CST. If I used one of your screencaps and you would like credit for it, just comment and let me know. If you know of more companies that sponsor or support Lysacek and have contact info for them, let me know and I’ll edit that info into the post.
I will be deleting any comment that implies that Weir somehow deserves this kind of gender-policing. No one deserves this kind of gender-policing, regardless of who they are or what your feelings on them are.
The original version of this post was focused on the homophobia of Lysacek’s comment and marginalized the transphobia that his insulting remark was dependent on. I sincerely apologize for marginalizing the transphobic nature of his comment and I have edited the post to reflect that. There is more discussion of this in the comments, if you’re interested. I welcome discussion of this and any suggestions for additional edits to my post.
However, this blog is intended primarily to create a timeline of events and to provide screencaps.