The Daily Beast Removes Homophobic Grindr Report: “We Were Wrong”

After an enormous uproar over The Daily Beast publishing a sleazy, unscrupulous article wherein a “reporter” fired up Grindr down at the Rio Olympics and attempted to schedule “dates” for what ended up being a mocking, homophobic and condescending result, the editors posted this message to readers announcing the article has now been removed.

Today, The Daily Beast took an unprecedented but necessary step: We are removing an article from our site, “The Other Olympic Sport In Rio: Swiping.”

The Daily Beast does not do this lightly. As shared in our editor’s note earlier today, we initially thought swift removal of any identifying characteristics and better clarification of our intent was the adequate way to address this. Our initial reaction was that the entire removal of the piece was not necessary. We were wrong. We’re sorry. And we apologize 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.

As a newsroom, we succeed together and we fail together, and this was a failure on The Daily Beast as a whole, not a single individual. The article was not intended to do harm or degrade members of the LGBT community, but intent doesn’t matter, impact does. Our hope is that removing an article that is in conflict with both our values and what we aspire to as journalists will demonstrate how seriously we take our error.

We were wrong. We will do better.

The author of the piece, Nico Hines, has remained silent throughout the entire debacle.

“Daily Beast” Reporter Poses As Gay On Grindr At Rio Olympics

A “reporter” for The Daily Beast – Nico Hines – thought it would be fascinating journalism to fire up Grindr while attending the Rio Olympics and pretend to hook up with Olympic athletes.

Oh – did I mention the “reporter” is a straight, married male?

So the story starts off bad enough, but it gets worse when the “reporter” publishes a “story” basically outing several of these athletes, many of which live in repressive countries. Included in the original article were details such as the heights, weights and other physical features of the Olympic athletes with whom he communicated with which puts these athletes at risk.

This is a seriously ethical mess. This isn’t journalism. This is trashy, unprincipled and terribly dangerous.

I’ll note that I keep putting the word “reporter” in parenthesis because I’m not sure I can refer to this guy as a journalist.

The article, written with mocking condescension, eventually had to be edited after several hours online.

The Daily Beast appended the article with this editor’s note:

A number of readers complained to The Daily Beast after the publication of the original iteration of this story. We take such complaints seriously because a central part of The Daily Beast’s mission is to fight for full equality and equal treatment for LGBT people around the world.

Publishing an article that in any way could be seen as homophobic is contrary to our mission. There was some concern that the original version of this story might out gay male athletes, even by implication, or compromise their safety.

This was never our reporter’s intention, of course. No names were ever used and some of the profiles described were of straight women. But there was a concern that even mentioning the home nation of some gay athletes could compromise their safety. As a result, we have removed all descriptions of the men and women’s profiles that we previously described.

Mic had this reaction:

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.”

Hines, who is married with children, included the heights, weights and countries of origin of several athletes whom he arranged dates with. That he saw this as no big deal is a huge problem and shows that he is blind to his own privilege by writing the piece.

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.

Folks on Twitter appropriately lost their shit:

Donald Trump’s “Special Counsel” Threatens Reporter

Donald Trump’s special counsel Michael Cohen out loud to a reporter

The Daily Beast reported today on Donald Trump’s use of the word “rape” in recent weeks referring to Mexican immigrants. It turns out the Donald has something of a history with the word.

The Daily Beast went back to Trump’s 1990 divorce from his ex-wife Ivana, where she alleged in court documents that he violently assaulted her on one occasion and forced her to have sex invoking the word “rape.”

Michael Cohen, special counsel at The Trump Organization, defended his boss, saying, “You’re talking about the front-runner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as private individual who never raped anybody. And, of course, understand that by the very definition, you can’t rape your spouse.”

“I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we’re in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don’t have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know,” Cohen said. “So I’m warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me?”

“You write a story that has Mr. Trump’s name in it, with the word rape, and I’m going to mess your life up… for as long as you’re on this frickin’ planet… you’re going to have judgements against you, so much money, you’ll never know how to get out from underneath it,” he added.

Interesting that a lawyer in New York state would be ignorant of the law regarding spousal rape.  At one time, there was a so-called “marital rape exemption” to the law, but it was struck down in 1984.

In addition, there were other times when the Donald weighed in on cases of alleged rape over the years. Read the story over at The Daily Beast.

In any case, it’s fascinating that this is who a man running for “president” would dispatch to speak for him.

Is Michael Cohen going to threaten heads of state who may not agree with a (never gonna happen) Trump administration?