Daily Beast Savaged After Potentially Outing LGBT Athletes in Rio
What were they thinking?
Daily Beast writer Nico Hines, for some strange reason, thought it would be amusing and newsworthy to troll dating apps at the Olympic village in Rio and in doing so may have exposed several LGBT athletes to being outed--some in countries where LGBT people face oppression and stigma.
The piece, which has since been heavily edited and given a new title, was originally plastered with this gross, gay-baiting headline.
The new headline is “The Other Olympic Sport in Rio: Swiping”
Hines is not gay, even bizarrely pointing out his wife and kids in a defensive gesture of “no homo” . Needless to say the internet was justifiably upset:
Straight ppl are allowed to ruin your life - out of hatred, out of cruelty, or just bc they're bored. Thx for the reminder @NicoHines.— Anthony Oliveira (@Anthony Oliveira)1470915727.0
Dear @thedailybeast, queer identity and safety is not a game for your straight writers to have fun with. That @NicoHines piece is pure trash— Omar Sakr (@Omar Sakr)1470914651.0
the private lives, spaces & safety of LGBTI people do not exist for your fluff pieces @NicoHines— Bec Shaw (@Bec Shaw)1470913946.0
Salon’s Mary Beth Williams pointed out how The Daily Beast initially changed the piece without any note. The initial version, which was posted for hours, clearly says where the athlete was from what sport they played.
The updated version:
As Mathew Rodriguez at Mic notes:
Hines, who is married with children, included the heights, weights and countries of origin of several closeted people whom he claims met with him for dates. That he saw this as no big deal is a huge problem and shows that he is blind to his own privilege by writing the piece.
The editors of The Daily Beast, around 10AM EST went into damage control mode, refusing to take the piece down instead editing to the point of incoherence and adding a very long, non apology apology. One part in particular shows that The Daily Beast seems to still not get what they did wrong:
He never claimed to be anyone he was not, did not offer anything to anyone, and immediately admitted that he was a journalist whenever he was asked who he was.
This excuse doesn’t pass the sniff test since being on a gay app is, by definition, representing oneself as gay. And hooking up with a journalist isn’t the same thing as “please report about my being gay”.
Indeed, potentially putting LGBT people at risk is just the beginning of the problems of the piece. As others have noted, the LGBT community has a long list of reasons to seek anonymity--hook up apps aren’t just a “LOL let’s have a good time” but often the only way they can meet people without the social stigma attached to it. Nor are LGBT apps and other LGBT spaces meant to be the subject of straight men’s glib mockery.
This isn’t the first time The Daily Beast has potentially put people’s lives at risk, an anonymous profile of an Iranian activist last year was published, unbeknownst to the Daily Beast, while the activist was stuck in Iran without a passport.
Nico Hines has avoided Twitter since the controversy erupted and has yet to respond to any of his critics.