Out athlete Adam Rippon reportedly
turned down a request from Vice President Mike Pence to meet.
The 28-year-old Rippon, who came out as
gay to Skating magazine in 2015, is one of just a handful of
out athletes heading to the Olympic Winter Games in South Korea.
In January, Rippon, a figure skater,
criticized the White House's selection of Pence to lead the 2018 U.S.
“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.)
According to USA
Today, Pence's staff asked the U.S. Olympic Committee to set
up a conversation between Pence and Rippon just one hour after
Rippon's comments were published online. Rippon turned down the
offer, according to two sources.