Nico Hines of The Daily Beast recently made what will likely be remembered as the biggest mistake of his career. While covering the Rio Olympics, Hines decided it would be fun to download numerous dating apps in Olympic Village to report on the dating and sexual habits of Olympic athletes.
Because, you know, that’s news?!
In doing so, he outed around 30 gay athletes who were allegedly using Grindr to meet other athletes staying in the village.
To gay men, coming out is personal. We live in a world where we are persecuted and hated for who we are. Our families and friends cast us out, society excludes us as human beings. Coming out is a choice that should only be made by that person. To force someone out of the closet is not only unethical, it is life-threatening.
In the U.S., there are still twenty-eight states where you can be fired for being gay. In a total of seventy-four countries, being gay is a criminal offense; in thirteen of those countries, being gay or bisexual is punishable by death.
Numerous people who were outed by Hines’ crackerjack reporting hail from countries where being gay is illegal. Their status as heroes in their homelands was put in danger, more than that, they could return home to be murdered due to the fact Nico Hines cares more about having his mediocre writing go viral than he does about human lives.
In 2010, the U.S. was rocked by the suicide of a young college student named Tyler Clementi. Clementi was a gay man who was unknowingly recorded having sex with another man by his college roommate Dharun Ravi. The fear and shame he felt by being publicly outed to his friends and family led him to feel no other choice but death as a resolution. Tyler represents to so many the personal choice that we as gay men must face in our own time and in our own terms. I have very close friends who cite Clementi’s story when they tell of why they decided to come out to their loved ones.
I see no difference in Dharun Ravi and Nico Hines. Both men knew what they were doing was wrong, yet both went forward with a disgusting display of homophobia ignoring all consequence to the lives their actions would inevitably destroy.
Sadly, Daily Beast editor John Avlon has not issued a suspension for Hines, although firing would be the logical choice in this matter. It seems as if removing the article is enough in the eyes of The Daily Beast.