Not ‘Staying Silent’: CBS Cheers Gay Olympian ‘Pioneer’ Slamming Trump Administration

On Thursday, CBS This Morning joined ABC’s Good Morning America in applauding openly gay Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy as a “champion for LGBTQ rights” who was using his position on Team USA to blast the Trump administration for failing to “support the LGBT community.”

Correspondent Don Dahler began the segment by gushing: “Gus Kenworthy left the 2014 Sochi games with a silver medal....But what pestered him is what he didn’t do at the last Olympics. He may not have spoken out about Russia’s anti-gay policies then, but now, he’s living as his authentic self and taking on a new role, one that transcends sports.”

 

 

The headline on screen throughout the segment announced: “A Kenworthy Cause; Olympic Skier Embraces Role as Champion for LGBTQ Rights.”

“Today, the extreme athlete is embracing his role off the mountain as an advocate for the LGBT community,” the reporter touted minutes later. Dahler asked the athlete: “Do you like being the pioneer?” Kenworthy replied: “I definitely think my life would have been easier if I had someone that was in my position that was out and gay and proud and successful in their sport....I think I realized the need for that and the importance of it.”

Dahler emphasized that “for Kenworthy, staying silent is no longer an option.” He teed up the Olympian to trash President Trump: “After the Olympics, the Olympic team is generally invited to the White House. Do you think you would go?”

Kenworthy seized on the chance:

No. I mean, when we have people elected into office that believe in conversion therapy and are trying to strip trans rights in the military and do these that are directly attacking the LGBT community, I have no patience.

I am so proud to be from the U.S. and to be from a country where you are able to voice your political opinions and stand up for what you believe in. And I think that when you have a platform, you have to use it. Especially if you feel very strongly about something.

Wrapping up the story, Dahler reminded viewers of how Kenworthy similarly bashed Vice President Mike Pence: “Kenworthy criticized the decision to have Vice President Mike Pence lead the U.S. delegation at the opening ceremony. He said it’s unfortunate and sends mixed messages since Pence does not support the LGBT community.”

The media have been eager to find any way to politicize the Olympic games.

Here are excerpts from the February 15 report:

8:43 AM ET

GAYLE KING: The U.S. Men’s Slope Style Team is shooting for a repeat performance at this year’s winter Olympics. The American men swept the podium four years ago at the Sochi games in Russia in the fist Free Ski Slope Style contest. Gus Kenworthy won the silver medal. Nearly two years later, he became the first openly gay male extreme sports athlete.

JOHN DICKERSON: In Pyeongchang, Kenworthy is now one of the first openly gay men to compete for the U.S. in the winter games. Figure skater Adam Rippon is also gay. Rippon made headlines by announcing he would not attend the traditional Team USA visit to the White House because of the Trump administration’s LGBT policies. Don Dahler spoke with Gus Kenworthy about the new role he’s assumed in this year’s Olympics. Don, good morning.

DON DAHLER: Good morning. Gus Kenworthy left the 2014 Sochi games with a silver medal and a pack of stray dogs he famously rescued. But what pestered him is what he didn’t do at the last Olympics. He may not have spoken out about Russia’s anti-gay policies then, but now, he’s living as his authentic self and taking on a new role, one that transcends sports.

(...)

DAHLER: Today, the extreme athlete is embracing his role off the mountain as an advocate for the LGBT community.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: A Kenworthy Cause; Olympic Skier Embraces Role as Champion for LGBTQ Rights]

Do you like being the pioneer?
                                
GUS KENWORTHY: I think it’s a bit of a trade-off. When I was a kid, I definitely think my life would have been easier if I had someone that was in my position that was out and gay and proud and successful in their sport. But not having that, I think I realized the need for that and the importance of it.

(...)

DAHLER: Still, for Kenworthy, staying silent is no longer an option.

After the Olympics, the Olympic team is generally invited to the White House. Do you think you would go?

KENWORTHY: No. I mean, when we have people elected into office that believe in conversion therapy and are trying to strip trans rights in the military and do these that are directly attacking the LGBT community, I have no patience.

I am so proud to be from the U.S. and to be from a country where you are able to voice your political opinions and stand up for what you believe in. And I think that when you have a platform, you have to use it. Especially if you feel very strongly about something.

DAHLER: Kenworthy criticized the decision to have Vice President Mike Pence lead the U.S. delegation at the opening ceremony. He said it’s unfortunate and sends mixed messages since Pence does not support the LGBT community.

On the snow, Kenworthy and his teammates will get another shot at a podium sweep this weekend.

KING: Love everything about him. And he and Adam Rippon are both speaking out so openly about who they are, how they got to what they – how they got to where they are, and I think it’s terrific.

(...)

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