Out Actor Ian McKellen Echoes Johnny Weir: Olympic Boycott Would Be “Cruel” To Athletes

It’s interesting to watch the reaction Gay Majority has whenever Johnny Weir speaks out against a boycott of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Despite being only one of many LGBT athletes speaking in support of the Olympic Games, he’s arguably the most criticized for doing so.

With that, it’ll be even more interesting to watch Gay Majority react to out actor Ian McKellen’s thoughts on the “dreadful” treatment of LGBTs in Russia and why he believes the Sochi Olympics must go on. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal this week, McKellan essentially echoes Weir in saying that to an olympian, the Games are a “climax of their lives,” and the opportunity to compete should not be taken away from them.

“It’s a dreadful situation and it’s the worst thing to have come out of Russia for a very, very long time,” he said, showing his disapproval of the new laws threatening to jail or punish anyone promoting “gay propaganda” at the Olympics in Sochi next year. “As a gay man, it’s absolutely appalling to me.”

But more importantly, McKellan is most concerned with the “spirit of the Games.” He continues to say that taking away an athlete’s opportunity to compete “would be cruel,” and a boycott would mean that “discrimination would win.”

Furthermore, he proposes that athletes band together in solidarity this year to show unanimous disapproval of the new anti-gay laws. “I think what would be wonderful if all the athletes, gay and straight, and the Olympic authorities, were to make clear that they absolutely disapprove of it and they’re going to ignore it,” he said, “not because they don’t care, but because in the moment, the spirit of the Olympics must take precedent.”

What do you think?