UPDATE: The Daily Beast has scrubbed the article entirely and admitted it was a terrible idea.
I don't see how The Daily Beast ever thought it was a great idea for a writer to post a fake profile on Grindr in Rio in order to entrap presumably closeted gay Olympians—and then publish the results.
As Slate points out, the stunt is sophomoric, but also potentially dangerous and humiliating—writer Nico Hines (who asserts he is straight and even throws in that he is married and a father, as if those pieces of information make him as far removed from being gay as possible) was implicitly outing people from countries where attitudes toward LGBT people might be negative, and who may not even have been out to their teammates. The descriptions intially used were certainly enough to lead to a guessing game.
And he published it while they were still competing on the world stage.
The Daily Beast responds to the uproar:
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.
The concept for the piece was to see how dating and hook-up apps were being used in Rio by athletes. It just so happened that Nico had many more responses on Grindr than apps that cater mostly to straight people, and so he wrote about that. Had he received straight invitations, he would have written about those. He 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.
Some readers have read Nico as mocking or sex-shaming those on Grindr. We do not feel he did this in any way. However, The Daily Beast understands that others may have interpreted the piece differently.
Accordingly, we have made some editorial changes to the article, responding to readers' concerns, and are again sorry for any upset the original version of this piece inspired.
—John Avlon, Editor in Chief