Out figure skater Adam Rippon, the
U.S.'s first openly gay man to qualify for the Winter Olympics, has
criticized the White House's selection of Vice President Mike Pence
to lead the 2018 U.S. Olympic delegation to South Korea.
The 28-year-old Rippon made his
comments in an interview with USA TODAY.
Rippon said that he would not go “out
of his way” to meet Pence during a traditional meeting held before
the opening ceremony.
“If it were before my event, I would
absolutely not go out of my way to meet somebody who I felt has gone
out of their way to not only show that they aren't a friend of a gay
person but that they think that they're sick,” Rippon
said, a reference to Pence's reported support for therapies that
attempt to alter the sexuality or gender identity of lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender people. A Pence spokesman in 2016 denied
that Pence supports so-called conversion therapy.
Pence's press secretary responded to
Rippon's comments, saying that the claim that Pence supports such
therapies is “totally false” and “has no basis in fact.”
once joked that Mike Pence “wants to hang” all gay people.)
“I don’t think he has a real
concept of reality,” Rippon said. “To stand by some of the
things that Donald Trump has said and for Mike Pence to say he’s a
devout Christian man is completely contradictory. If he’s okay with
what’s being said about people and Americans and foreigners and
about different countries that are being called ‘shitholes,' I
think he should really go to church."
Rippon added that he would not
participate in any form of protest while competing at the Winter