Once again, an attack on the worldwide queer community has been swept under the rug, forgotten by mainstream news and virtually unheard of, even on college campuses.
During the Rio Olympics this year, a reporter from The Daily Beast, Nico Hines (I’m using his name because, in my opinion, he should never be allowed to work in journalism or publish an article again), published an article on LGBTQ+ athletes at the Olympics. Except, he didn’t do that in an ethical way.
Hines claims that he was writing an article about the sex that takes place in the Olympic Village. We’ve all heard about that just from the stories of how many condoms have to be purchased in advance of the games. However, in doing his story, Hines decided to branch out by using the app Grindr (for those who don’t know, it’s basically Tindr designed for the LGBTQ+ community), despite being a cis straight man. After using the app, Hines went on to publish an article, which described athletes in enough detail that a simple Google search would indicate to anyone who they were. He essentially outed a number of LGBTQ+ athletes to the world. To make things worse, after outrage across the Internet, The Daily Beast simply removed the descriptions rather than removing the article (although they have now done so).
The fact that this article even made it onto the web is, to me, the biggest issue. No one else working at The Daily Beast apparently took an issue with the fact Hines was essentially outing people, some of whom live in countries where it is still illegal to be LGBTQ+ and that crime is punishable by death. For that matter, why was it acceptable journalism for a man to lie about his identity while reporting? Perhaps Hines told people he was a reporter (if they asked), and perhaps he never claimed to be gay, but the implication of using Grindr is that he was a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and thus a person who could be trusted.
We need to reinforce ethics in journalism. We need to leave the private lives of these Olympic stars alone. They are there to compete as an honor to their country, not to find their lives in danger. Why is it important to any of us who an athlete wants to sleep with? We’re there to watch their performance. Period.
Hines gets to go home to his wife and kids, with no real repercussion for his actions. Those that he outed, they may not ever get to go home or feel safe again.
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