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NBC to Weir: Yes to Tiaras but No to Fur for Olympic Wardrobe

Written by Dan Mathews | February 20, 2014

Add animal rights to the list of issues buzzing from Sochi: NBC told Olympics correspondent Johnny Weir to dress as flamboyantly as he wants—but to ditch his infamous furs.

“Do whatever you want. Just on our air, no fur. And that’s something that I can understand. I don’t think it’s really appropriate.” So says fur-flaunting figure skater Johnny Weir about NBC’s only on-air wardrobe requirement for its garish correspondent. Access Hollywood broke the story, which shows how public taste has progressed since PETA became a pop-culture force, with legions of people writing networks about fur-wearing personalities.

More often than not, it’s the stars themselves who renounce fur, as happened when PETA contacted Wendy Williams and Martha Stewart, both of whom ended up starring in their own anti-fur campaigns. In the ’60s and ’70s, celebrities posed for fur ads in return for a $20,000 mink coat. Now, they’re lining up to pose free of charge, often to declare that they’d “rather go naked than wear fur.”

Weir still wears fur when he’s not on the air for NBC, but we at PETA would love nothing more than to see him evolve and join the ranks of our spokespeople, many of whom were formerly furry.

Take Eva Mendes, for instance. She wore fur on a red carpet, received an informative e-mail from PETA, swore off fur, and even hosted one of our video exposés. In it, she shows how more than half the fur in the U.S. comes from fur farms in China, where millions of dogs and cats are bludgeoned, hanged, or bled to death and often skinned alive for their fur. Chinese fur is often deliberately mislabeled as fake, so if you wear any fur, there’s no way of knowing for sure whose skin you’re in.

Tim Gunn, in his video for the organization, reveals that animals on fur farms spend their entire lives confined to cramped, filthy wire cages. They are killed by the cheapest methods available, such as suffocation, electrocution, gas, and poison.

Because she’s from Canada, Pamela Anderson focused on animals who are trapped in the wild in her video. They can suffer for days from blood loss, shock, dehydration, frostbite, gangrene, and attacks by predators. They may be caught in steel-jaw traps that slam down on their legs, often cutting to the bone. Traps set underwater leave beavers, muskrats, and other animals struggling for up to 10 minutes before drowning. To kill animals without damaging their pelts, trappers usually strangle, beat, or stomp them to death.

But as Stella McCartney shows year after year, it’s easy to have a look that kills without killing. In her video, she explains why she doesn’t even use leather. Cruelty-free materials have reached a very sophisticated level these days. That’s why Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Bouwer, Betsey Johnson, and Liz Claiborne have all chosen to use fabrics that don’t bleed—literally.

Johnny Weir says he wears fur because he wants to wear something expensive in order to show that he’s “made it.” Well, Johnny, many of these cruelty-free designers’ goods are pretty pricey, so that won’t be a problem. Plus, since you’re daring enough to wear both men’s and women’s clothing, you’ll have twice the selection!

This article appeared originally on The Huffington Post.

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  • Sometimes people need to be shown in a non-aggressive way that their choice of clothing and food impacts real animals and not just the cute ones they have in their house like a Bichon Frise.

  • Marilyn Smith says:

    I was so happy to read this article about NBC and so shocked this morning when I watched the Saturday program and saw them end the Sochi coverage by showing how Russians stay warm by wearing fur…specifically fur hats! Everyone on camera was wearing a fur hat. What happened?

  • A Garcia says:

    2/21/14, sitting here watching Olympics on TV and a piece fur blanket is draped over the sofa where Mr Weir and Mr Costas are chit chatting – seriously -bad move NBC -no shame from Mr Weir,,,, poor animals faux or not.

  • Giuliana Rinaldo says:

    Also, Johnny Weir said choosing to wear fur is a just a choice. Well, everything we do in life is a choice. Every choice we make comes with consequences and benefits, whether they be for ourselves and how we affect others. So, why not make choices where it’s a win, win situation for all, including the animals and make this world a better place. Be progressive, be green, be humane!

  • Giuliana Rinaldo says:

    I don’t know whether Johnny Weir is just heartless and selfish or just uneducated about fur farms and the horrific torturous enslavement these innocent, defenseless animals live and die through – I hope it’s the ladder. In addition, I find it hypocritical that a gay man, such as himself who is part of the gay community, who’s fought hard for equal rights and the right to live in peace and freedom as heterosexuals do, wouldn’t want to pay it forward to the animals for those same rights. You would think when you experience a form of cultural repression, etc that you would have more sympathy, empathy, and compassion for others, including animals that experience the same.

  • Mary Smolders says:

    Taking this a step further, boycotting countries that torture and slaughter these animals, such as dogs and cats and fur-bearing animals would perhaps hit them where it hurts, in the tourism industry. Opposition to the practices in China, Korea and Romania by not visiting those countries would also cause those countries to sit up and pay attention!

    • pegi larson says: