A straight journalist is under fire for using Grindr to essentially out closeted gay athletes in Rio.
Nico Hines has been covering the Olympics for the Daily Beast. As part of his reporting, he thought it would be hilarious to create a fake profile on the dating app then see just how many gay athletes were cruising for sex between games.
Hines was shocked to learn that Rio has become, in his words, “a hotbed of partying athletes, hookups, and sex, sex, sex.” Particularly gay “sex, sex, sex.”
While he didn’t call out any of the men by name, Hines did share quite a bit of identifying information about them, including what sports they played and what countries they were from.
Naturally, a lot of people weren’t pleased with Hines’ stunt, calling it homophobic, irresponsible, disrespectful, and dishonest:
— Nick Coveney (@nmjcoveney) August 11, 2016
Unless queer outing is now an Olympic sport, can we just all agree that @NicoHines piece is outright homophobia? Needs to be withdrawn.
— Joshua Dixon (@JoshDixonTweets) August 11, 2016
— itsonlyzach (@itsonlyzach) August 11, 2016
The @NicoHines 'story' on Grindr and the olympics village is not journalism. It's trashy at best and incredibly dangerous at worst.
— Stewart McDonald MP (@StewartMcDonald) August 11, 2016
Bobby Finger at Jezebel called the article a “breathlessly written account of someone who appears to think gay sex is as mysterious as the prehistoric origins of Tilda Swinton.” And Mark Joseph Stern at Slate called it “a uniquely disgusting and irresponsible entry into the tired genre,” accusing Hines of taking pleasure in “luring in these Olympians then outing them to all the world.”
“But the offensive purpose of Hines’ article is really the least of its problems,” Stern adds. “Far worse is the actual damage it will likely cause to real, live human beings—inevitable consequences that Hines blithely ignored.”
That outrage sparked the Daily Beast to update Hines’ article by removing the athletes’ identifiable information and issuing a statement that reads, in part:
A number of readers complained to The Daily Beast after the publication of the original iteration of this story. We take such complaints seriously because a central part of The Daily Beast’s mission is to fight for full equality and equal treatment for LGBT people around the world. Publishing an article that in any way could be seen as homophobic is contrary to our mission.
Some readers have read Nico as mocking or sex-shaming those on Grindr. We do not feel he did this in any way. However, The Daily Beast understands that others may have interpreted the piece differently.
Accordingly, we have made some editorial changes to the article, responding to readers’ concerns, and are again sorry for any upset the original version of this piece inspired.
For his part, Hines has yet to respond to the controversy. But he did tweet about the long lines at McDonald’s in Rio yesterday:
Little bit of rain won't put these athletes off the huge snaking McDonald's line. True Olympians pic.twitter.com/zhYD6KUpCm
— Nico Hines (@NicoHines) August 10, 2016