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Journalist dismissed from Olympics after outing gay athletes

The International Olympic Committee has condemned as “simply unacceptable” a since-deleted story on the Daily Beast where a straight reporter posed as gay on Grindr to do a feature on sex at the Olympics. The IOC indicated in an email to Outsports that the writer, Nico Hines, is no longer in Rio.

“We understand the organization concerned recalled the journalist after complaints and withdrew the story,” an IOC spokesperson told Outsports today in an email statement. “This kind of reporting is simply unacceptable.” It’s the IOC’s first response since the controversy broke on Thursday.

It could not be immediately confirmed if Hines is still in Rio. However, his last story on the Daily Beast’s website was Aug. 9, two days before his story about Olympics sex was posted. He also has not tweeted since Aug. 10, a day before the story appeared. An email to the Daily Beast concerning Hines’ status has not been answered as of now.

On Aug. 11, the Daily posted Hines’ story “The Other Olympic Sport In Rio: Swiping” (the original headline was: “I got three Grindr dates in an hour in the Olympic village”). In it, he talked about using the mainstream hookup app Tinder, along with the gay-oriented Grindr and Jack’d. He talked about how as a straight, married man he went on Grindr posing as someone looking to connect.

His focus was on the success he had connecting with gay athletes on Grindr. In his original version of the article, Hines listed specific identifying information that allowed for some gay athletes to be identified with near-certainty. After an uproar online over outing athletes — including some from countries where homosexuality is illegal — the Daily Beast removed the identifying information. It later added an editor’s note to the article, but as anger within the LGBT and journalistic community built, it finally deletedthe article that night and replaced it with an editor’s note.

Today, The Daily Beast took an unprecedented but necessary step: We are removing an article from our site, “The Other Olympic Sport In Rio: Swiping.”

The Daily Beast does not do this lightly. As shared in our editor’s note earlier today, we initially thought swift removal of any identifying characteristics and better clarification of our intent was the adequate way to address this. Our initial reaction was that the entire removal of the piece was not necessary. We were wrong. We’re sorry.

Today we did not uphold a deep set of The Daily Beast’s values. These values—which include standing up to bullies and bigots, and specifically being a proudly, steadfastly supportive voice for LGBT people all over the world—are core to our commitment to journalism and to our commitment to serving our readers.

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 screwed up. We will do better.

The deletion and apology did not satisfy many people, who demanded the IOC revoke the credentials of Hines and the Daily Beast. If the IOC statement is accurate, the Daily Beast recalled Hines — based in London — from Rio in an attempt, it appears, to forestall the IOC taking any more action.

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