“We understand the organization concerned recalled the journalist after complaints and withdrew the story. This kind of reporting is simply unacceptable.”
— an e-mail from the International Olympics Committee (IOC) to the LGBT sports site Outsports regarding Nico Hines, The Daily Beast writer who published a story last week on hook-up apps at the Olympics that inadvertently outed several closeted Olympic athletes, at least one of which was from a country with laws punishing same-sex sexual encounters.
Hines identifies as straight, is married with kids and reportedly told the athletes he chatted with that he was a journalist writing an article “if they asked”, though who the hell asks about people’s professions when trying to hook-up? The article was pretty boring and said little more than, “I discovered some Olympians trying to hook-up — aren’t I clever?”
The Daily Beast initially removed all identifying details from the article in hopes of keeping it online, but eventually removed the article after an internet outcry and later apologized saying:
“Our initial reaction was that the entire removal of the piece was not necessary. We were wrong. We’re sorry… The article was not intended to do harm or degrade members of the LGBT community, but intent doesn’t matter, impact does.”
Commenters noted that closeted athletes could face rejection from their families, communities, coaches and teammates if identified or worse: blackmailing, threats of violence, rape or even death. A writer from the blog Slate said that he was able to figure out the identities of five of the athletes referenced in Hines’ article just using Google. The Daily Beast took the additional step of removing the article from web.archive.org (aka The Wayback Machine) so that interested parties can no longer find it online.
Outsports and other social media users began clamoring for the IOC to revoke Hines’ and The Daily Beast’s press credentials, but according to the aforementioned e-mail, Hines is no longer in Rio, though no one has yet to confirm if this is true. Hines has not published anything at The Daily Beast since August 9 nor has he tweeted since his offending story hit the web on August 10.
“If the IOC statement is accurate,” Outsports co-founder Jim Buzinski wrote, “The Daily Beast recalled Hines — based in London — from Rio in an attempt, it appears, to forestall the IOC taking any more action.”
“You fucking disgust me. Do you realize how many people’s lives you just ruined without any good reason but clickbait journalism? Imagine the one space you can feel safe, the one space you’re able to be yourself, ruined by a straight person who thinks it’s all a joke? 1 of the guys you just outed is only 18 years old… I was 18 once & nowhere near ready to come out… Seriously fuck off with your str8 white male privilege preying on closeted people who can’t live in their truth yet. U ruin us”