The gay networking app Grindr has denounced a recent rash of “outings” of Olympic athletes currently competing in the Tokyo games.
Insider reports that a number of users on social media platforms such as Twitter and TikTok have used Grindr’s “explore” future to track down and identify profiles belonging to athletes currently staying in the city.
“I used Grindr’s explore feature to find myself and Olympian boyfriend,” one user wrote.
Users then screenshot the images and information on Grindr–some of which include athlete’s faces–and post the images to other social media platforms. Insider further reports that at least four athletes have been fully identified by face and name in the posts.
Queerty, like Insider, will not share these posts due to privacy concerns.
The posting of athlete information during the games raises important privacy concerns, as a number of the athletes have not come out publicly, and furthermore, come from nations where homosexuality remains criminalized or highly stigmatized. Yemen, Iran, and Saudi Arabia all have laws that prescribe harsh punishments–including death–to anyone convicted of homosexual activity. Russia also has harsh laws against gay conduct, while other nations, including Japan, continue to socially ostracize LGBTQ people.
Both Grindr and Twitter have issued harsh rebukes of the profile sharing.
“These individuals are in breach of Grindr’s Terms and Conditions of Service which prohibit them from publicly displaying, publishing, or otherwise distributing any content or information that are part of the Grindr services,” a spokesperson for Grindr said in a statement. “Out of respect for our users’ privacy, and out of respect for the contractual commitments these individuals made, Grindr demands that these individuals remove their social media posts that include images from the Grindr platform.”
Twitter echoed that sentiment, saying the postings “violated the Twitter Rules against hateful conduct and will need to be removed before the account owners can continue to use Twitter.”
The 2021 Tokyo Olympics features a record high of 168 openly queer athletes in competition. A number of those competitors have speculated that there is a significantly larger LGBTQ contingent in the games, though many of those athletes still feel uncomfortable with coming out in public.