What the Daily Beast writer did was sensationalist slut shaming that could destroy gay lives

Nico Hines is under fire for tricking gay athletes

Yesterday the Daily Beast ran an article about gay athletes in the Olympic Village in Rio. The reporter, Nico Hines, is a straight man who thought the best way to find out about gay athletes in the Olympics was to download hookup app Grindr and then go and stand inside the Olympic Village to see what happened.

His article, originally titled ‘I got three Grindr Dates In An Hour In The Olympic Village’ was the worst kind of salacious gossip-mongering masquerading as investigative journalism.

Putting aside the shock revelation that gay men use Grindr to have sex and how this is news to anyone in 2016, there are a lot of things wrong with Nico’s course of action.

‘Users of gay dating apps have enough internalized homophobia within in the gay community to deal with, without straight people treating it like an online zoo’

First and foremost, it is a violation: Grindr is a safe space. It might not be a physical space but it is a digital forum for men who have sex with men.

Hines is quick to tell us that he’s straight, married and has two kids and that he didn’t misrepresent himself ‘unless you count being on Grindr in the first place’.

Well, we do count that. It’s kind of the point of the whole app. If you are not a man who has sex with men, you don’t get to use the app. It’s that simple.

Users of gay dating apps have enough internalized homophobia within in the gay community to deal with, without straight people treating it like an online zoo where they can stroll, gawping, at the unusual specimens collected for their amusement.

It would be bad enough if it were just a sad, judgmental puff piece for a straight outlet about gay men wanting to have sex with other gay men; that is not news, it is pure and simple slut shaming.

Heaping violation on violation, Hines’ ‘investigation’ took him as close to the athletes’ accommodation as he could get, in order to digitally peer over the wall – a wall designed expressly to keep people like him from doing things like this.

The Olympic Village is supposed to be a haven for the athletes to focus on their sport, not worry that their every move is being scrutinised by the world’s press.

And, after training harder than literally anyone else on Earth, I’d say these young men and women have earned the right to unwind with as much sex and debauchery as they like, without having to worry that they might end up the center of some tawdry ‘scandal’.

What makes this worse is that Nico decided to describe in quite some detail the young athletes he was talking to on Grindr.

His boasts about athletes photos in full national kit, offering sex in several languages were descriptive to the point of almost naming several of them.

Not a big deal to a smug, British straight man dabbling for fun in a world he knows nor cares anything about, but potentially life-destroying for the people he described: At least two of the Olympians he mentioned in his article are from countries where homosexuality is considered a crime, and his decision to print enough information to identify them fairly easily was taken with a near-criminal level of negligence.

‘He chose sensationalism and slut-shaming; risking punishment for young men whose only crime was to express their sexuality’

There was a chance here for Mr. Hines to write a more positive piece, about gay men from many different countries being able to express their feelings and desires openly, possibly for the first time ever, without worry of the recriminations that doing so at home would have invited.

Instead he chose sensationalism and slut-shaming; risking punishment for young men whose only crime was to express their sexuality while representing a country that would punish him for doing so.

This isn’t journalism. It’s vile, judgmental gutter-reporting reinforced with the swaggering confidence of ignorance. I really hope that, as a result, the Olympic organisers take note and revoke his press credentials for potentially causing harm to the competitors.

If you want to know what it’s like to be a gay man from an African country, Mr. Hines, come out and move there. If you want to know what goes on in the Olympic Village, dedicate your life to a sport and earn the right to find out. Until then, stay home with your wife and kids.

The article in question was later heavily edited to remove the descriptions of the athletes, and is accompanied by an apology ‘for any offence caused’ from the Daily Beast’s Editor-in-Chief.

Today, the Daily Beast has announced that it has reconsidered further and fully removed the entire article. As nothing on the internet is ever truly deleted, any damage done by this ignorant non-journalism remains to be seen.

 

The post What the Daily Beast writer did was sensationalist slut shaming that could destroy gay lives appeared first on Gay Star News.

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