Today: 19.09.2018
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18.09.2018
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18.09.2018

Tonya Harding doesn’t deserve her heroic second act.

It’s hard to recall a second act in American life like Tonya Harding’s. She doesn’t deserve it. As recently as 2014 — the 20th anniversary of her Olympic rival Nancy Kerrigan’s kneecapping, carried out by Harding’s ex-husband and associates — the disgraced skater told TV Guide, “Whatever. It’s like, I’m done. Nobody wants to hear...
Time: 19:20     Date: 11.01.2018
Last US News - Opinion: Tonya Harding doesn’t deserve her heroic second act. NY Post 24 - US News

As recently as 2014 — the 20th anniversary of her Olympic rival Nancy Kerrigan’s kneecapping, carried out by Harding’s ex-husband and associates — the disgraced skater told TV Guide, “Whatever. It’s like, I’m done. Nobody wants to hear this crap anymore.”

Fast-forward nearly four years, and this scandal has been retold — marketed, untruthfully, as a “true story” — in the Oscar-gunning film “I, Tonya.”

Last Sunday, Harding was seated prominently at the Golden Globes, thanked by winner Allison Janney — who portrayed Harding’s mother LaVona — for “sharing her story . . . a story about truth and the perception of truth in the media and the truths we all tell ourselves.”

Janney went on to proclaim the valor of “I, Tonya” telling “a story about class in America, about the disenfranchised . . . I’m so proud of it.“

Worth noting: Harding was paid just $1,500 for her life rights. Nothing like the self-congratulatory largesse of Hollywood.

To the main point: In “Tonya Harding Would Like Her Apology Now,” a lengthy piece in this week’s New York Times, the author defends Harding’s multiple lies, concluding: “Here’s the thing: A lot of what she said wasn’t true. She contradicted herself endlessly. . . The things she said that were false — they were spiritually true, meaning they made her point, and she seemed to believe them.”

Huh? Are we this far through the post-facts, fake news looking glass? Could you imagine the Times attempting to explain, say, President Trump’s latest tweets this way?

The film takes creative license, common enough. The danger here is a generation who knows nothing of the actual case taking “I, Tonya” as fact, and of this film becoming a shameful palimpsest.

On Thursday, two-time Olympian Johnny Weir stated as much. “[Harding] did a horrible, horrible thing,” he told TMZ Sports. “She’s a pariah in our sport and she shouldn’t be forgiven for basically, possibly having the opportunity of ruining somebody’s life.”

Harding and Allison Janney, who plays Harding’s mother in “I, Tonya,” at the Golden GlobesGetty Images

Indeed, Harding’s involvement was corroborated by multiple witness statements to the FBI. In separate interviews, Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly and co-conspirator Shawn Eckardt said that days into the plot, a frustrated Harding asked why she couldn’t get anyone to get this thing done for her — meaning a disabling attack on Kerrigan. Shane Stant, hired to execute the attack, told the FBI that Eckardt floated the idea of murdering Kerrigan; Gillooly said the same.

Other ideas included slicing Kerrigan’s Achilles tendon or buying a beater car to run Kerrigan off the road, but Gillooly’s suggestion to smash Kerrigan’s “landing leg” — her right leg — would suffice.

Had Kerrigan had been clubbed one centimeter lower, her doctors said, she’d never walk unaided again.

All along, and for decades, Harding denied any involvement or knowledge of such a plot — this, despite the FBI finding notes and doodles in Harding’s handwriting, stuffed in a commercial dumpster, outlining an attack. Also in Harding’s handwriting: Kerrigan’s training facility in Massachusetts, spelled “Tunee Can Arena” instead of “Tony Kent Arena.”

Still, the film largely absolves Harding of any guilt, blaming instead the abuse she suffered, childhood poverty, the classism of champion ice skating, and a reductive media for Harding’s vilification.

Kerrigan, meanwhile, remains largely off-screen, derided as a snobby, well-off Disney princess who had it coming — yet more creative license, as Kerrigan, too, was a struggling working-class girl.

At the film’s conclusion, a vindicated Harding (played by Margot Robbie), sneers that Kerrigan didn’t smile properly when, after all that, she won the Olympic silver.

Yet Hollywood has clearly learned well from Harvey Weinstein’s wizadry, pushing “I, Tonya,” as a treatise on American poverty with the kind of ensuing liberal guilt only an Oscar can assuage. Weir, too, addressed this on Twitter, writing: “I am so over the glamorization of a villain simply because she was born on the ‘wrong side of the tracks.’ While her upbringing may have been tragic, athletes come from all walks of life and succeed based on merit, not assault. I won’t applaud her and I stand for Nancy.”

Perversely, Harding has reemerged at a most opportune moment, shilling her fake victimhood in the shadows of true feminist warriors.

On Thursday, Kerrigan finally broke her silence about the film and Harding’s attempted redemption arc. “I was the victim,” Kerrigan told The Boston Globe. “Like, that’s my role in this whole thing. That’s it.”

Though Harding has now finally confessed to ABC News that “I knew something was up . . . [I overheard] them talking about stuff where, ‘Well, maybe we should take somebody out” — another inconsistency — she doesn’t understand why she’s still, in the real world, a pariah.

“I’m always the bad person,” Harding said. “And I never understood that.”

Precisely her problem.

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