What I’ve Learned
Seven months ago, The Daily Beast ran a story of mine that never should have been conceived, written, or published. For that, I am deeply sorry.
Sexuality is an area that people should talk, read and write about—but private individuals’ sex lives are only legitimate topics when they're addressed with their consent or contribute to the public good. The story about athletes using dating apps in the Olympic village did not ask consent and did not advance the public good. The article intruded into the lives of people who had a right to be left alone. For some readers it brought up old, ugly LGBTQ stereotypes. And I didn't accurately represent myself during the reporting of the piece. These were all profound failures, and I’m sorry for them.
The lens of privilege distorted my worldview. Before writing this story, I didn’t appreciate what “check your privilege” truly meant.
As I wrote about the dating lives of Olympians, gay and straight, men and women, I failed to consider the difference between logging on to Tinder and logging on to Grindr. I should have recognized Grindr is more than a dating app—it's become a safe space for a community which needs that safe space.
I also should have seen that it was wrong to go on any dating app without clearly identifying myself as a journalist when I was not really looking for a date.
I was insensitive to the fears that constantly grip some people’s lives and it was wrong to even introduce the possibility that someone's privacy could have been compromised. That fear is all the more acute in some of the countries whose athletes were gathered together inside the Olympic village. For anyone who was left in fear for their safety back home, I am truly sorry.
Since our article was published, I have received hundreds of emails reminding me that many members of the LGBTQ community do not always feel they can trust society at large and I am aware that I contributed to that fear. By failing to recognize the harm I might cause by intruding on a safe space, I was guilty of reinforcing those emotions.
My article created a charged and critical backlash, and rightly so. The Daily Beast's readers let me know how I got it wrong. I will not get it wrong again.
Last August, The Daily Beast regrettably published—then removed —a story, written by Nico Hines, from our website because the article was offensive and in conflict with both our values and what we aspire to as journalists.
Today, Nico Hines returns full-time to his position as senior editor and London-based reporter with The Beast, following a lengthy period of intense reflection. He feels strongly he should issue his own personal apology and used this article to do so.
We’ve said it before: as a newsroom we succeed together and we fail together. Our belief in this has not changed. After months of internal review and discussion—made more poignant by our current national climate —we as a newsroom are as mindful and committed as ever to the responsibility we have as independent journalists to not only tell the truth but further the public good. We will continue to stand up to bullies and bigots, value an inclusive culture and be a proud and supportive voice for the LGBTQ community.