Grindr Founder and CEO Joel Simkhai has responded to the controversial and now-removed Daily Beast article in which straight and married male writer Nico Hines used Grindr to get dates with gay Olympic athletes.
In a statement to TheWrap, Simkhai called out the “total disregard” that Hines had for the safety and discretion of the athletes.
“These guys deserve a spotlight on their talents, not their sexual preferences,” Simkhai said.
“While everyone is welcome to hang, it is with the understanding that this is a community, not a novelty for reporters to troll,” the statement continued. “And hey, if you’re that curious about how guys meet each other online … maybe you should write an article about your own sexuality, not someone else’s.”
Though Hines never revealed names, his article quickly faced heavy backlash for its insensitivity and the fact that there were enough details about the athletes — many of whom are not out yet and live in homophobic countries — that it was fairly easy to determine who they were.
Gay activists called the Daily Beast article “despicable.”
“The Daily Beast should be embarrassed at this piece of homophobic trash and try swiping on some ethical journalism standards than playing games on Grindr,” prominent gay activist Danielle Moodie-Mills, who has done consulting for GLAAD, told TheWrap.
Read Simkhai’s statement in full below.
We were shocked (and pretty mad) to read an article about a journalist using Grindr to bait and inadvertently out gay athletes in Rio. Not cool. It showed a total disregard by the journalist and the Daily Beast for the discretion and safety of these athletes during one of the most important moments in their careers. These guys deserve a spotlight on their talents, not their sexual preferences. In instances like this, the account would be immediately banned.
We have always considered Grindr a safe space for the gay world. And while everyone is welcome to hang, it is with the understanding that this is a community, not a novelty for reporters to troll. And hey, if you’re that curious about how guys meet each other online….maybe you should write an article about your own sexuality, not someone else’s.