Daily Beast Excoriated for Flippantly and Smugly Outing Closeted Rio Olympians
This quote is a variation of an old political saying that imparts general advice to libidinous politicians on how to deal with a potential sex scandal.
“Don’t get caught in bed with a deceased woman or a living man.”
Think about that saying for moment. It says a whole lot about misogyny is our world, but that is another issue.
In a virulently anti-LGBT world, who would want to be caught trying to explain such a situation, may be what the saying implies.
In such a world staying closeted, a personal choice above all others, may be the only way that closeted LGBT individuals with unique talents can express those talents and make a living without stigma or being ostracized.
Also, closeted LGBT people stand to lose everything if they are exposed.
After the Rio Olympics, gay athletes all over the world will have to rethink their personal life strategies at the next games.
Daily Beast writer Nico Hines used a fake gay dating app to gauge the intensity of the LGBT dating and hook-up scene in Rio, lured several gay Rio Olympian in thinking about potential hookups, marveled that he received about three hookup or meeting offers and wantonly outed several gay Olympians in the process.
That was the story.
Whether he did so maliciously and with intent or obliviously though wantonly, begs another question: which would be worse?
If Hines got on some heterosexual dating apps and wrote about finding out that heterosexual sex was raging in Rio, a publicly collective, “And?” may have been the response.
“The Other Olympic Sport: Swiping,” as it originally appeared on the Daily Beast website as written by Hines has since been taken down and replaced with a condescending, mollify-the-masses and rote non-apology apology from the editors.
The original story had no journalistic standing. Hines, a heterosexual writer with a wife and children, who felt a macho need to express that he is a heterosexual writer with a wife and kids within the context of the story, smugly expounded on the handful of gay hook-up offers that he solicited on gay dating apps like Grindr.
Exposing gay sex, especially such from closeted individuals, has a voyeuristic, looking through the zoo bars and other-izing effect to it.
What happened to Jim McGreevey, the former governor of New Jersey, when he held a press conference next to his wife to confess that he was carrying on a sordid gay sex affair and supplying his unqualified male lover with cushy, well-paying government jobs.
Not the same thing, but the point is that heterosexual celebrities or people of influence do not risk the same risk of public shaming and life-changing consequences that outed gay people have to deal with.
An outed gay person can become a walking punchline and pariah overnight in their respective life.
Hines didn’t identify athletes by name, but Hines did provide physical descriptions, the sport the athlete specialized in and even the country they came from.
Hines could have put lives in danger, destroyed relationships or marriages or ruined careers, depending on the countries where the outed athletes came from.
Radical wing LGBT activists and people who support outing other LGBT people can’t have it both ways either. One can’t criticize the Daily Beast debacle and claim LGBT outrage and pride while forwarding or perpetuating the same mindset.
That all LGBT people should be exposed or publicly identified for the usefulness of others.
Or the frivolity, glibness and humor of it all.
What was breathtaking about the article, besides its trashy uselessness, is the willful ignorance of the consequences that may arise from athletes being willfully and unabashedly outed.
The Daily Beast at first defiantly denied any wrong doing and then took the article offline and offered a defeated-sounding and tepid apology amid a roaring online backlash.
After being roundly and deservedly lambasted online and in social media, Daily Beast Editor-in-Chief John Avlon offered a public statement that now appears on the same page the deleted original story appeared.
“No names were ever used and some of the profiles described were of straight women…there was a concern that even mentioning the home nation of some gay athletes could compromise their safety. We apologize for potentially jeopardizing that safety in any way. As a result, we have removed all descriptions of the men and women’s profiles that we previously described…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 screwed up. We will do better.”
If you look, you will notice there are some typos in this Daily Beast note from the editor, which shows how rushed they were to get it out.
It also betrays the publication’s countenance of truly understanding the gravity of what occurred when they published the article and how wrong it was to do so.
An athlete should count on the fourth estate to objectively report on their on-field talents.
Not to expose closeted identities or put people’s safety at risk.
Hines should be fired or offered his resignation. But as such, this incident isn’t even being picked up by mainstream news.
When again points to the central problem.
“Don’t get caught with a deceased woman or a live man.”
That is the world that we live in.
But we should fight against it. Every second.