The internet reached fever pitch after a British journalist wrote an article that seemed to out gay athletes competing in the Rio Olympics.
Nico Hines, who writes for The Daily Beast, published a piece in which he went 'undercover' to solicit gay men on a popular hook-up app called Grindr. His supposed goal was to show how rampant sex is in the Olympic Village, a much-discussed topic in media.
In the original post, which was published Thursday, Hines was so specific in his descriptions of these athletes that a swift Google search could likely divulge their true identities.
Why the serious outrage?
The biggest reason is that several gay athletes hail from countries with stiff anti-LGBT laws. Being outed as a gay person could cost them dearly — even threaten their lives. One of the athletes supposedly outed in Hines's articles comes from “a notoriously homophobic country,” according to Vox.
Tongan Olympian swimmer and already-out gay man, Amini Fonua, explained the serious repercussions on his social media, in a much-discussed tweet storm (be forewarned: he uses some explicit language):
And one, which seems to have been deleted:
The Daily Beast did remove Hines's article, in what it's calling an “unprecedented step,” and posted an apology to the site, saying in part:
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.
But the reporter himself has not publicly apologized, which didn't go unnoticed on social media:
According to The Daily Beast's editor-in-chief, Hines "never claimed to be anyone he was not, did not offer anything to anyone, and immediately admitted that he was a journalist whenever he was asked who he was.”
Many have called for Hines's press credentials to be revoked in the immediate backlash.