After publishing an article that attempted to yank a few LGBT athletes out of the closet while competing in Rio — including one who’s from a country where it’s illegal to be gay — criticism immediately followed.
Hines, who is married with a child, downloaded Grindr to lure LGBT athletes to him — promising them sex. The goal was to report on Grindr, sex parties and sexual activity in the Olympic Village, where the athletes stay.
Hines says in the story that one Olympian wanted to commiserate over his sixth-place finish: “In village ready for action! Let’s make an athletes orgy!” he supposedly wrote in the profile. Other athletes were only interested in other athletes: “Muscular Athlete for meets in Athlete Village ONLY” said another profile.
Some of the profiles included pics of the beds in the rooms — to prove they are athletes without showing their faces. While Hines says, he never lied to anyone he talked to, telling all of them he was a journalist if (or when) they asked, the piece may have put these players in hot water.
After re-editing the title from “I got three Grindr dates in an Hour in the Olympic Village” to “The Other Olympic Sport: Swiping,” Daily Beast Editor John Avlon also said he was “sorry for any upset the original version of this piece inspired…” (to date no one has taken true responsibility).
“There was some concern that the original version of this story might out gay male athletes, even by implication, or compromise their safety,” Avlon wrote. “This was never our reporter’s intention, of course. No names were ever used, and some of the profiles described were of straight women. But there was a concern that even mentioning the home nation of some gay athletes could compromise their safety. As a result, we have removed all descriptions of the men and women’s profiles that we previously described.”
Avlon also said the descriptions of the men and women’s profile were removed from the article, but at that point, the damage was done. Even if no names were mentioned, it’s still enough to insight fear within an individual during — what should be — the most exciting times of his or her life.
Being an Olympic athlete requires you to represent your country. If you happen to be from a place where being gay is responded by violence, it’s unethical for a journalist — someone who should understand ethics — to get “cool” marks for something he knows nothing about.
A straight white male who has never been afraid to hold his partner’s hand in public, who will never see a direct consequence of this kind of action, or will never grasp the full aftermath of what it means to be yanked out of a closet, should know will never stand for this.