The International Olympic Committee has strongly condemned journalist Nico Hines, the author of a since-deleted article from The Daily Beast that critics accused of outing gay athletes.
“We understand the organization concerned recalled the journalist after complaints and withdrew the story,” said a spokesperson from the IOC in an email to Outsports. “This kind of reporting is simply unacceptable.”
This is the first time the IOC has spoken out about the controversy since Hines’ article, originally entitled “I Got Three Grindr Dates in an Hour in the Olympic Village,” was published last Thursday. Hines, who is straight and married, logged on to dating apps like Tinder and Grindr to report on the availability of casual sex in the Olympic Village. He allegedly received the most responses from men on Grindr, and that is why it became the focus of his story.
John Avlon, the editor in chief for The Daily Beast, claimed in an addendum to the piece that Hines’ intent was “to see how dating and hook-up apps were being used in Rio by athletes.”
Although it was later amended, the original article included information that could potentially identify the men who made dates with Hines, including the athletes’ ranks and the sports in which they are competing. Hudson Taylor, the executive director of Athlete Ally, told NBC News that exposure could put Olympians in danger.
“There are over 200 athletes competing in the Olympics from countries for which being gay is punishable by death,” Taylor said.
Out swimmer Amini Fonua hails from one such country — the Polynesian nation of Tonga.
“Imagine the one space you can feel safe, the one space you're able to be yourself, ruined by a straight person who thinks it's all a joke?” Fonua, who is competing in the men’s 100 meter breaststroke, wrote on Twitter. “No straight person will ever know the pain of revealing your truth, to take that away is just… can't. It literally brings me to tears.”
Hines’s piece was eventually removed from the site, and the editors posted a note apologizing for the harm it may have caused.
“Today we did not uphold a deep set of The Daily Beast’s values,” the message read. “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.”
Its editors further promised that The Daily Beast will take steps in the future to prevent further anti-LGBT gaffes. “We will do better,” the site stated.