Straight men can be so oblivious!
This, of course, is not news.
What is news is the sheer arrogance of Nico Hines, the Daily Beast writer who thought he’d be clever and report on Olympians’ sex lives by going on Grindr and arranging dates with whoever responded. Giving absolutely no thought whatsoever to the consequences of outing athletes from gay-unfriendly countries, Hines justified his actions by saying that he “didn’t lie” to anybody. No, he just didn’t tell them that he was straight, married, and a father.
At first, the Beast defended him. But as the uproar grew and showed no signs of fading, the website’s editors took the column down and issued a fairly abject apology.
As newnownext.com reported: “Calling the piece a ‘dangerous disaster’ and ‘wildly unethical train wreck,’ Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern outlined the potentially violent repercussions of Hines’ actions.”
Here’s Stern himself: “The offensive purpose of Hines’ article is really the least of its problems. Far worse is the actual damage it will likely cause to real, live human beings — inevitable consequences that Hines blithely ignored.
“Several athletes who are closeted at home (and possibly to their own teammates) will wake up on Thursday morning to the news that the Daily Beast has outed them. Their teammates could ostracize and alienate them; their families could disown them; their countries could imprison them. And for what? A homophobic article about how a straight guy conned gay Olympians from anti-gay countries into hitting on him through Grindr?”
That none of this occurred to Hines isn’t surprising; writers tend to be a self-centered lot. That’s why we have editors. The disgusting piece apparently sailed through the Daily Beast’s editorial process with no one asking any pertinent questions about the ethics of such a story. Only when the uproar started did these editors actually edit the piece with an eye toward its morality; they removed some names and retitled the piece, changing it from the obnoxiously boastful “I Got Three Grindr Dates in an Hour in the Olympic Village” to “The Other Olympic Sport in Rio: Swiping.”
Newnownext.com caught an angry Tweet from the Olympian Silver medalist Gus Kenworthy, a freestyle skier who is out: “So
@NicoHines basically just outed a bunch of athletes in his quest to write a shitty @thedailybeast article where he admitted to entrapment.”
John Avlon, the Beast’s editor-in-chief, initially appended an editor’s note defending the piece, though he also said he was “sorry for any upset the original version of this piece inspired.”
“Upset” is a mild word, especially when it is applied to a situation like this; as Slate’s Stern observed, the consequences could be dire: ostracism, family rejection, and even imprisonment. PinkNews put the matter succinctly: “Due to the small number of athletes competing in each sport from some of the referenced countries, the story potentially identified closeted athletes — including at least one from a country where gay sex is a crime.” Before being taken down completely, PinkNews reports, the piece was “extensively re-written to de-emphasize the focus on gay sex [and] now only references ‘a track star, a volleyball player, a record-holder in the pool, a sailor, a diver, and a handball player.’”
Nico Hines should be ashamed of himself, and so should John Avlon, who is ultimately responsible for this piece of shit being published. What remains mysterious is why so many Olympic athletes were so eager to, um, meet the decidedly not-cute Hines in the first place. I know I wouldn’t fuck him.