US website The Daily Beast has apologised and removed an article that came close to identifying gay Olympic athletes through the use of Grindr.
Nico Hines, the London editor of The Daily Beast, used the dating app in Rio Olympic village to seek out gay Olympians competing in the Games.
His original article, headlined ‘The Other Olympic Sport in Rio: Swiping,’ came close to identifying some of the athletes involved, including one from “a notoriously homophobic country.”
Some of the Grindr profile descriptions in the article led to suggestions that it could compromise the safety of the athletes involved and The Daily Beast editor John Avlon removed some of the detail.
“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,” he wrote in an update at the bottom of Hines’ article.
But the piece was still heavily criticised. Mark Joseph Stern, who covers lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues for The Slate, said it was “exceedingly gross and bizarre.”
The article was originally published at 6 a.m. Eastern Time on Thursday. By 2.27 a.m. on Friday morning, it was taken down and replaced by an apology, headlined: “A note from the editors.”
“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,” it said.
“We were wrong. We’re sorry. And we apologise to the athletes who may have been inadvertently compromised by our story.”
It added: “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.”
The note concluded that that the publication of the article was a collective failure and not that of a “single individual.”