By Nathan James
Nico Hines, the Daily Beast reporter who sparked international outrage by exposing Olympic athletes as gay, by creating a false Grindr profile, has been involuntarily sent home from Rio de Janeiro, the website said yesterday.
“Today we did not uphold a deep set of The Daily Beast’s values,” the publication said in a statement, “These values – which include standing up to bullies and bigots, and specifically being a proudly, steadfastly supportive voice for LGBT people all over the world – are core to our commitment to journalism and to our commitment to serving our readers.”
The correspondent, Nico Hines, posted a story last week, entitled, “The Other Olympic sport In Rio: Swiping”, which included detailed descriptions of Olympic participants he engaged with on the Grindr dating app, revelations that could have perilous consequences for the athletes in their home countries.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued a strong condemnation of the Hines article, deeming it “simply unacceptable, and incompatible with the values and practices of the Olympic Games.”
The essay, which was posted to the Daily Beast on Friday, described Hines (who is straight) posing as a gay man, for the purpose of discovering, and entrapping, gay Olympians, revealing what events they competed in, and their countries of origin. “Rio has become a hotbed of partying athletes, hookups, and gay sex, sex, sex,” Hines wrote.
Amid an immediate firestorm of controversy, the Daily Beast quickly removed the post from its website. “But the offensive purpose of Hines’ article is really the least of its problems,” said Slate writer Mark Joseph Stern. “Far worse, is the actual damage it will likely cause to real, live human beings–inevitable consequences that Hines blithely ignored.”
Many LGBT Olympic athletes remain closeted, because of local laws prohibiting homosexuality in their native lands, or overwhelming societal homophobia. The Hines article, according to multiple sources, “genuinely endangers these individuals’ freedom, and in some cases, their lives.”
Hines himself has declined comment on the controversy over his actions and story.