'Daily Beast' Editor Nico Hines Used Grindr at 2016 Rio Olympics — It's a Homophobic Mess
This is how not to arrange a Grindr hookup.
Early on Thursday, The Daily Beast published an article by London editor Nico Hines in which he "reported" on his use of Grindr at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Hines is a straight man, and the article is an unethical mess.
Hines, who is married with children, included the heights, weights and countries of origin of several athletes whom he arranged dates with in the piece. That he saw this as no big deal is a huge problem and shows that he is blind to his own privilege by writing it.
Putting an Olympian's stats next to their country of origin endangers the well-being of that person, especially when one athlete was from Central Asia, a region in which LGBT people are "marginalized, criminalized, and are exposed to high levels of violence, harassment and discrimination," according to one U.S. congressman's testimony.
In this pseudo-ethnographic piece, Hines has failed at meeting one of journalism's central tenets. For reference, the Society of Professional Journalists' code of ethics has an entire section on "minimizing harm." In it, SPJ says, "Ethical journalism treats sources, subjects, colleagues and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect."
Since it was first published, the article has been altered and some of the following quotes have been deleted. Mic will not reproduce those stats and quotes and further endanger these athletes.
The code of ethics also clearly states: "Avoid undercover or surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to the public."
Though Hines says he "confessed to being a journalist as soon as anyone asked who [he] was," he never says he confessed to being a straight person who was ready to out athletes.
Hines chose to use "surreptitious methods," but delivered no vital information in this article. His piece doesn't respect his subjects: It mocks gay people and treats them like zoo animals behind a glass barrier.
Hines also makes a weak attempt to chide athletes for their sexual preferences.
"Some athletes on Grindr made it clear that they were only interested in other sports stars," he writes. But because of his position of privilege and clear lack of knowledge or empathy for his subjects, his stray observations come off as judgmental and his tone is mocking and patronizing.
Within the piece, there were no revelations other than "gay people are on Grindr and like to meet up for dates." Sure, queer sexuality can be a fascinating topic for journalism — when it's done respectfully and, hopefully, by someone with ties to the community. But just booting up an app and seeing that people like sex isn't journalism, and the tone stigmatizes gay sexuality even further.
Twitter roasted Hines' gay-baiting, life-threatening piece of "journalism."
Since publishing the article, the Daily Beast has appended it with an editor's note defending the writer and saying that outing these athletes was "never our reporter's intention."
"Some readers have read Nico as mocking or sex-shaming those on Grindr," the note reads. "We do not feel he did this in any way. However, the Daily Beast understands that others may have interpreted the piece differently."
Because of Hines' privilege as a member of the sexual majority — i.e., a straight person — he can never understand how much this "journalism" has the potential to negatively affect his subjects — psychologically, emotionally and physically.
There is nothing left to do but to out him as a journalist whose work lacks ethics.