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Sport

Journalist who outed athletes at Rio 2016 ‘deeply sorry’

Joseph McCormick March 22, 2017

Just over half a year since he outed gay athletes at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, a journalist has said he is “deeply sorry” for doing so.

Nico Hines wrote an article for the Daily Beast in which he outed athletes, identifying some using apps like Grindr.

The IOC last year said that Mr Hines’ story, in which he used the apps to identify gay athletes, was “simply unacceptable”.

Hines has now written again for the Daily Beast an article titled ‘What I’ve Learned’ to apologise for the article.

He writes: “The article intruded into the lives of people who had a right to be left alone. For some readers it brought up old, ugly LGBTQ stereotypes. And I didn’t accurately represent myself during the reporting of the piece. These were all profound failures, and I’m sorry for them.

“The lens of privilege distorted my worldview. Before writing this story, I didn’t appreciate what “check your privilege” truly meant.”

He adds: “I should have recognized Grindr is more than a dating app—it’s become a safe space for a community which needs that safe space.

“I also should have seen that it was wrong to go on any dating app without clearly identifying myself as a journalist when I was not really looking for a date.”

Going on, Hines says: “Since our article was published, I have received hundreds of emails reminding me that many members of the LGBTQ community do not always feel they can trust society at large and I am aware that I contributed to that fear. By failing to recognize the harm I might cause by intruding on a safe space, I was guilty of reinforcing those emotions.”

Although the story – “The other Olympic sport in Rio: Swiping” – has since been removed, it rose to notoriety last year when it reported the high numbers of casual sexual encounters among athletes.

More worryingly, was Hines’ inclusion of characteristics that could have resulted in closeted athletes being exposed.

In a number of instances, this included competitors from countries that discriminate against members of the LGBT community.

The criticism resulted in the original article being changed initially, before eventually being removed. It was replaced with the line: “We were wrong. We will do better.”

In a longer apology, published since the original article was taken down, the publication said: “We were wrong. We’re sorry. And we apologise to the athletes who may have been inadvertently compromised by our story.

“Today we did not uphold a deep set of The Daily Beast’s values. 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.”

Tongan swimmer, Amini Fonua, who is openly gay, was one of the athletes to lead the charge against the Daily Beast.

After a number of strongly worded social media messages, he posted a picture of his rear to Instagram with the line, “kiss it and f**k off”.

More: Grindr, Nico Hines, Olympic Games, Olympics, Rio 2016, The Daily Beast

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