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!