Three weeks ago, the Daily Beast deleted a story by writer Nico Hines, in which he played gay on Grindr to connect with gay Olympians, and then wrote a story where he gave enough details to identify some of them. The website published a retraction in place of the story and promised to do better, but there has been no further statement from the website and no apology from Hines.
The silence is puzzling. The article was an ethical disaster and put closeted gay people at risk of exposure. The Daily Beast did say it was sorry, and then added this language to the original statement: "And we apologize to the athletes who may have been inadvertently compromised by our story."
Everybody knows the website screwed up, so why no public apology from Hines? He seems to have disappeared. He hasn't tweeted since Aug. 9, two days before the story appeared and his byline has not been in the Daily Beast since. After promising "we will do better," no top editor at the website has shed any light on how the story was published or what "doing better" means.
Three weeks is plenty of time to conduct an investigation, if that's what's taking place. This was not a complicated story with multiple sources that took months to write. It was a one-off from a writer looking for a what seemed like an irresistible angle — Olympians and sex, with the gay angle making it seem hipper and more exotic. The original headline guaranteed it would be clicked on: "I Got Three Grindr Dates in an Hour at the Olympic Village." After the initial outcry, it was changed to "The Other Olympic Sport In Rio: Swiping." It was the top story on the site all day until it was deleted.
An apology from Hines needs no investigation. He screwed up in a major way and no amount of justification or time can make it better. The Daily Beast also needs to explain its editorial process — whose idea was it for the story? How many editors read it before it was published? Who made the final decision to hit "publish"? Who OK'd the headline? Were any LGBT Daily Beast staffers consulted on the merits of the story prior to publication? Why did it take all day to delete the story? Was Hines or any other staffer punished? What safeguards are in place to ensure this doesn't happen again?
I am not alone in wondering why Hines and the Daily Beast have gone silent on this. I checked Twitter while writing this and found several others (including Cyd) with the same question. It's time for the Daily Beast to come clean. Its readers and LGBT people deserve transparency and an explanation.
Still waiting for @NicoHines to tweet— Ira Madison III (@ira) August 30, 2016
Still waiting for @thedailybeast to tell us how they're going to "do better." How have you changed your editorial practices post nico hines?— W (@formerlyfrozen) August 30, 2016
Strange that @NicoHines, the hack who outed Olympians in that trash Daily Beast article, still hasn't tweeted. No apology whatsoever.— Joe Morgan (@nottherealjoe) August 28, 2016
RT If you're still waiting for Nico Hines to come out of his hole, like pic.twitter.com/FzvtLMILq0— OuterBoroughPrincess (@Kimberly124) August 27, 2016