At the height of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Daily Beast journalist Nico Hines published an article putting the lives and welfares of LGBT+ athletes at risk.
The heterosexual journalist fooled gay athletes into arranging dates with him using hookup apps such as Grindr for the sake of the queer-baiting article. Many of the athletes on the dating apps were visiting from countries with poor LGBT+ tolerance, with Hines’ worked widely referred to as grossly neglectful.
Following worldwide outrage, the article was removed by The Daily Beast, Hines was recalled and left Rio for the remainder of the games after thousands voiced their concerns online.
Now, seven months later, Hines has issued a formal and public apology, claiming that before the piece he “didn’t appreciate what “check your privilege” truly meant.”
He writes: “As I wrote about the dating lives of Olympians, gay and straight, men and women, I failed to consider the difference between logging on to Tinder and logging on to Grindr. 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,” he explained.
“I was insensitive to the fears that constantly grip some people’s lives and it was wrong to even introduce the possibility that someone’s privacy could have been compromised. That fear is all the more acute in some of the countries whose athletes were gathered together inside the Olympic village. For anyone who was left in fear for their safety back home, I am truly sorry.”
As an out gay athlete from a country that is still very homophobic, @thedailybeast ought to be ashamed #deplorable https://t.co/qzS9rDFJwx— Amini Fonua (@AminiFonua) August 11, 2016
The Daily Beast reports that Hines has now returned to his position as senior editor “following a lengthy period of intense reflection.”
“After months of internal review and discussion—made more poignant by our current national climate —we as a newsroom are as mindful and committed as ever to the responsibility we have as independent journalists to not only tell the truth but further the public good,” they issued in an Editor’s Note. “We will continue to stand up to bullies and bigots, value an inclusive culture and be a proud and supportive voice for the LGBTQ community.”
The full apology can be read here.