While many have been enjoying the Olympics this last week, the LGBT community have been faced with a pressing issue of: “Why the fuck would somebody out a bunch of Olympic athletes?”
Last Thursday (August 11) The Daily Beast journalist Nico Hines published a controvesial article titled “I Got Three Grindr Dates in an Hour in the Olympic Village,” in which he essentially outed a number of closeted athletes at this years Olympics.
Through the article he provided in depth details about the athletes he had arranged dates with so that readers could easily identify them. By including their heights, weights and countries of origin, it took only a quick Google search to identify the participants with little uncertainty.
Attempting to discover if the rampant ‘sex parties’ held by Olympians were true he took to dating app Bumble, Grindr, Jack’d, and Tinder to search for hook-ups. It was not long until he focused primarily on Grindr as he believed gay men would be more promiscuous than their straight counterparts, just one of the many deeply homophobic reasonings he made throughout the vile piece.
Not only did Hines along with his representative site violate these athletes’ privacy, they put a number of their lives in danger. Noting the fact that one of the athlete’s he focused on came from a “notoriously homophobic country”.
In an attempt to justify his underhanded means Hines wrote:
“For the record, I didn’t lie to anyone or pretend to be someone I wasn’t—unless you count being on Grindr in the first place—since I’m straight, with a wife and child. I used my own picture (just of my face…) and confessed to being a journalist as soon as anyone asked who I was.”
Quite the laughable comment given the entire purpose of Grindr is to engage in conversation with fellow homosexuals outside of the overwhelmingly heterosexual society. As a straight man, he knowingly infiltrated a safe space for gay men in order to exploit them for his own gain, failing to inform them of his intentions. The entire farce was a knowing lie from the creation of his profile to approaching the athletes for dates and hookups, it is bewildering how or why The Daily Beast allowed the content on their site.
The entire article is written in a lurid, yet condescending tone, shaming gay men for the mere thought of meeting others, while omitting the stories of people he had conversed with on straight apps from the story altogether! Knowing full well the position of some of these athletes who come from countries where homosexuality is a punishable offence he knowingly punished them not only for their orientation but for their nationality, their religion, their culture, and their race. Aside from the lawful implications of being outed, there are a variety of other factors why sportsmen remain quiet about their sexuality during their careers from sponsorship deals to fear of losing supporters, none of which were given a passing thought.
Almost instantly readers protested the article, the intense backlash brought an update to the publication a matter of hours later when the site updated the article to remove personally identifiable information, later insisting that outing gay athletes was “never our reporter’s intention.” His honest intention for targeting and reporting on closeted gay athletes was never expressly stated.
Alongside a number of fans and celebrities tweeting in disgust, recently out sportsman Gus Kenworthy publicly disapproved of the article and openly gay Tongan Olympic swimmer Amini Fonua wrote an extended impassioned speech via his social media.
As anger mounted in the LGBT, Olympic and journalistic communities the story was finally taken down and replaced with an apology note from the editor. Hines was soon relocated back from Rio to England and has not took to his Twitter in over a week, leaving many to wonder where he stands with The Daily Beast.
Days later the International Olympic Committee issued a statement reading: “We understand the organization concerned recalled the journalist after complaints and withdrew the story. This kind of reporting is simply unacceptable.”
The entire ordeal was a questionable, unethical mess from start to finish, however the one positive it brings was that it began a conversation about what classes as ethical journalism concerning homosexuality, and the protection of gay men.