Capital Idea, Old Chap!

Words fail me:

On Thursday morning, the Daily Beast published an exceedingly gross and bizarre article by a straight, married male writer who lured in gay Olympians through hookup apps for no particular purpose. The entire piece is an astoundingly creepy exercise in Grindr-baiting, which involves a journalist accessing Grindr in an unlikely setting and … seeing what happens. But the Daily Beast piece, penned by Nico Hines, is a uniquely disgusting and irresponsible entry into the tired genre. Hines entices his (often closeted) subjects under false pretenses; effectively outs several closeted athletes who live in repressive countries; then writes about the whole thing in a tone of mocking yet lurid condescension. By 10:30 a.m. ET, the Daily Beast had, in response to criticism, edited out the most identifying details about closeted athletes—but that’s too little, too late. (Update, 9:15 p.m.: On Thursday evening, the Daily Beast took down the piece entirely.)

I’ve been steaming about this all day.

56 replies
  1. 1
    japa21 says:

    There used to be a thing called responsible journalism. I emphasize the “used to be” part.

  2. 2
    Mnemosyne says:

    When did trolling people get redefined as “journalism”?

    The Daily Beast is useless anyway — one of their “journalists” basically lied to a rape victim by telling her that Hillary had laughed at her and called her a liar, and how did she feel about that, hmm? Why the fuck would you even do that?

    ETA: Updated with the Snopes link.

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    We are all Gawker now.

  4. 4
    lamh36 says:

    ya know, I never would have even heard about the story, the first I hearda bout it was because I saw it mentioned by John and ABL on FB. I didn’t give it any page views, but sadly I think those mentions gave it even more life

  5. 5
    Bitter Scribe says:

    Man, WTF is it with surreptitious outing being a big joke for straights? I can understand the motives of right-wing shitheads like Laura Ingram or Ingraham or Ihgofuckyourself or whatever her name is, who allegedly did it in college to the campus gay rights org. But for people who are sympathetic, or at least neutral, toward LGBTs? How do they not understand that being closeted is often a matter of emotional, if not literal, survival for some people?

  6. 6
    Schlemazel says:

    You would do that to get a big story.

    I read a piece about the news reels, most were shot by stringers who only got paid if the piece ran. This led to a lot of them making phony news or baiting victims on camera so that they could a payday. We are back to those bad old days again.

  7. 7
    🐾BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Mnemosyne: I posted a pic of the Burbank “Space Shuttle” in the previous thread.

  8. 8
    dedc79 says:

    The Daily Beast also recently published an article blaming Donald Trump’s rise on Paul Krugman. Quite a publication.

  9. 9
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Bitter Scribe:

    But for people who are sympathetic, or at least neutral, toward LGBTs?

    What makes you think that Hines is remotely sympathetic or neutral? His actions indicate the opposite.

  10. 10
    Mike J says:


    There used to be a thing called responsible journalism. I emphasize the “used to be” part

    Not really. It’s always been bad. People just gloss over how bad it used to be.

  11. 11
    Jewish Steel says:

    I assumed this stunt was an audition for Breitbart.

  12. 12
    HRA says:

    One word -Vile

  13. 13
    ET says:

    WTF is wrong with people? Seriously this is all sorts of wrong on so many levels it is inexcusable.

  14. 14
    Bitter Scribe says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I just didn’t think the Daily Beast would have an outright homophobe working for them. Maybe I was wrong.

  15. 15
  16. 16
    John Weiss says:

    Whaddya expect? It’s the Daily Beast! A waste of air and perfectly good electrons.

  17. 17
    Lizzy L says:

    The Daily Beast editors are ferret-wearing shitgibbons.

  18. 18
    Baud says:

    LA Times

    American-backed Libyan militias said Thursday that they were consolidating their hold over the coastal oil-crescent city of Surt, Islamic State’s last real bastion in Libya — and, until this week, the group’s most important territorial toehold in North Africa.

    “ISIS honors Obama.”

  19. 19
    MomSense says:

    And here I was about to drop in and say that I heard they had a helicopter bring 450,000 more condoms to the Olympic village. Kids are alright.

    The “journalist” who pulled this sick stunt is a creep.

  20. 20
    Marc says:

    Tabloids are tabloids. This is why I was glad that Gawker got nailed to the wall and why I don’t care whether a tabloid is on my team or not. They make a living off destroying lives, and excuse it because a few celebrities make a good living off of being shameless.

  21. 21
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    Our corporate media has failed us. Katy Tur from NBC, who has been following Trump, has to be protected from his mob. Every single national media person should be walking off their platform in support of her, but instead **crickets**. They’re cowardly access clickbait whores.

  22. 22
    patroclus says:

    Phelps wins Gold in IM!!!!!

    (and Nico Hines is scum).

  23. 23
    🐾BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @patroclus: Let me know when he wins the Gold in balance beam.

  24. 24
    Betty Cracker says:

    The writer is obviously either a moron or a vicious douchebag. Or both. But does that publication not have editors? Hard to believe no one recognized what an awful idea this was on every level.

  25. 25
    dedc79 says:

    Looks like they finally pulled the article. Too little too late.

  26. 26
    laura says:

    @dedc79: this is the direct outcome of Rupert Merdoch’s corrupting of the very foundations of journalism and reporting. Infotainment, not foreign bureaus, context free and by design manufacturing consent.
    Or so it seems to me.

  27. 27
    Suzanne says:

    This is disgusting. Nico Hines should never work in publishing ever again.

    Followed very closely by the fart squirrels on Fox discussing how women Olympian women should wear makeup while competing because no one wants to see their zits.

  28. 28
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne: Some have speculated that incident is why the media is suddenly calling the “Obama founded ISIS” claim a false accusation.

  29. 29
    dedc79 says:

    @laura: Yeah, Murdoch didn’t originate it, but he may well have perfected it.

  30. 30
    Mike J says:

    @Marc: I never understood the pearl clutching over Gawker. They ran video that was recorded without the knowledge of the victim in his own home, of him having sex. I don’t see any journalistic principle at risk here. The most sickening thing about the entire affair was that in a slam dunk invasion of privacy case the victim wasn’t able to sue for redress until a billionaire, however evil, stepped in.

    Fuck Gawker, and fuck Gawker’s defenders.

  31. 31
    patroclus says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: How bout Simone Manuel, an African-American teenager taking the gold (in a tie) in the women’s 100m IM??!!! First time ever for an African American (woman or man) in swimming!!!! USA! USA!!

  32. 32
    Mnemosyne says:


    Because … males don’t have zits? Male zits are more attractive?

    Oh, why am I expecting logic — it’s Fox “News”!

  33. 33
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @patroclus: I’ve been trying to avoid spoilers because I think the shit is delayed for the West Coasters.

  34. 34
    patroclus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Sorry. At least I put a question mark in it…

  35. 35
    Immanentize says:

    @Mnemosyne: In the Fox world, all women must be Barbie. No blemishes allowed.

    ETA and we wonder how all that stuff with Ailes went on??

  36. 36
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mike J:

    It would be awfully nice if there was a prima facie assumption by the courts that nude photos or footage of someone having sex are not covered by the First Amendment if they’re released without the person’s written consent. I’m sure that one of the resident lawyers (of which I am not one) will come along and tell me that’s not possible because Free Speech requires us to be able to look at famous people’s junk whenever we please, even if they expected those pictures to be private.

  37. 37

    Yeah. They pulled the (s)hit piece and told the world how sorry they are. I bet the people whose lives are now fucked are so happy to know that. It’s a lot too little and a lot too late.

  38. 38
    Suzanne says:

    @Mnemosyne: Because men look and women are looked at. And if we fail in our duty to be nice to look at, then we don’t deserve love or respect, and certainly not gold medals.

  39. 39
    Mike J says:


    It would be awfully nice if there was a prima facie assumption by the courts that nude photos or footage of someone having sex are not covered by the First Amendment if they’re released without the person’s written consent

    The first amendment applied in this case. Gawker’s first amendment rights weren’t violated.There was no prior restraint stopping them from publishing. They were allowed to publish, and they were allowed to defend themselves in court. The first amendment is not a get out of jail free card.

  40. 40
    elm says:

    Gay sex at the Olympics? What would the ancient Greeks say about that?

  41. 41
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mike J:

    Right, but what I’m saying is — and IANAL — is that nude pictures and films should not be allowed to be released without written consent of everyone pictured. It should be illegal for publications to buy those photos/films without first securing that written consent.

  42. 42
    laura says:

    @dedc79: his sheer global reach and influence is to undermine the very idea of self-government.
    I.F. Stone must be spinning in his grave.

  43. 43
    sukabi says:

    @Mnemosyne: I don’t see the difference between what gawker did and your average perv posting revenge porn or the local peeping tom posting video taken thru someone’s window on the web, except it was on a much larger platform…nothing that should fall under journalistic protections.

    Consensual sex isn’t news worthy, and Hogan is a private citizen, not a politician making public policy.

  44. 44
    Matt Smith says:

    I’ve been steaming about this too. I remember the closet. It’s built of paranoia and fragile compartmentalization. It’s hard to describe how badly it screwed me up when I was 19 and thought I might be outed. I was so freaked out, I couldn’t read or think straight for days. (oops, pun) That is, when I tried to read something, I could scan the words but they didn’t mean anything… which was a huge shock at the time. Was scared to leave my dorm room and face the world. So I’m thinking of some athlete freaked all to hell, afraid to go out in public, see teammates, or return to their home, wondering if someone’s suddenly on to them. Even if nobody “important” figures them out, some of them have to be a mess right now.

  45. 45
    Mnemosyne says:


    Exactly. And, AFAICT, it’s mostly legal to post nude pictures of private citizens on the Internet without their consent. They successfully prosecuted a guy with a website here in California, but IIRC they were able to do it because he was extorting the women and demanding money for NOT posting the pictures (also, I think, charging a fee to assholes who sent in their ex-girlfriend’s pictures). If he had done it all for free, there wouldn’t have been anything illegal about it.

  46. 46
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Matt Smith:

    And, seriously, HOW IS ANY OF THIS NEWS? On any planet? Haven’t we been aware that LGBTQ Olympians exist since Greg Louganis came out of the closet and Johnny Weir got his own post-Olympics reality show? What was the purpose of this other than to make life hell for some innocent gay men?

  47. 47
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: Johnny Weir is gay?!!???!!!

  48. 48
    Gex says:

    It is so utterly brilliant to go after closeted gays though. They can’t fight back or sue without outing themselves. They have to just sit there and hope like hell this article doesn’t destroy them as Nico Hines and the Daily Beast cashed in on the article. By brilliant, I mean evil.

  49. 49
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    “Yeah, and I can’t believe Liberace was gay. I mean, women loved him! I didn’t see that one coming.”

    That is still one of only two movies that can literally make me fall out of my seat laughing. The other is the original version of The Producers.

  50. 50
    EBT says:

    @laura: Remember the Maine!

  51. 51
    Saskexpat says:

    @Mnemosyne: It is not that cut and dried. What if the pictures are of James Dobson, Fred Phelps, or some other outspoken homophobe naked with a guy hired from Definitely newsworthy. Do you want some state court in East Cowfuck, Oklahoma deciding on tort damages in an such an important free speech case?
    This applies to a bunch of free speech issues. Let’s say the ranchers of the good state of Oklahoma sue Greenpeace for statements made about the environmental and health impacts of meat. State courts are notorious for favoring local plaintiffs in such cases, and even if the judges care about the free speech issue, juries have awarded ridiculous amounts of damages. You want Judge Oinkfucker and the good citizens of his community deciding whether or not to award damages sufficient to destroy an organization. Ask Mother Jones how they feel about those types of suits.
    The Gawker case is troubling not because what Gawker did was OK, but because the trial was unfair. First, there was evidence that Hogan knew about the tape that Gawker was barred from presenting at trial. Second, Thiel’s funding was discoverable, and likely admissible at trial, but was hidden (likely by lying or evasive discovery responses) by Hogan. This means defense trial preparation and strategy was hampered, again affecting the outcome of the trial. Third, Hogan settled for a pittance with the guy who made the tape, and Gawker was barred from presenting that at trial. Fourth, from the way it went down, someone was almost certainly providing Hogan with advice about the legal strategy based on Thiel’s wishes (the suit was structured to make sure that there could be no insurance coverage, which is dumb if you want to actually collect, but ideal to inflict maximum damage). All communications about this strategy between Hogan and Thiel would be discoverable, even if they went through Hogan’s lawyer (there is no privilege for attorney communications with a non-client where the attorney is just a go between). Given the way the case went down, Gawker should have been able to call Thiel as a witness at trial and present evidence of his vendetta through the courts. The case should have been framed by the defense as eccentric libertarian billionaire targets media company for their coverage of the tech industry using Hogan as a tool. Gawker never got the chance to present their case because of Thiel and Hogan’s chicanery about the funding.
    The funny thing is, Hogan is probably going to wind up with way less than he would have (if he gets anything at all) because the claims will get settled in bankruptcy for pennies on the dollar (if not discharged entirely). If he had brought a conventional case (or accepted a settlement, which was offered in the case), he could have pocketed a nice chunk of change. Don’t think the old Hulkster played it too smart, in the big picture.

  52. 52
    RaflW says:

    Didn’t the Daily Beast put up with (aka host) easily inflamed self-exciter and occasional torry racist Andrew Sullivan for a time?

    Yeah. It’s crap.

  53. 53
    Bob2 says:

    This is what gay people have to put up with still.
    This was just published YESTERDAY and talks about Egypt using Grindr to imprison gay people.
    Another shitty human being at the Daily Beast who elides the important details of the Dr. V trans outing to say it’s people being overly PC. Kirchirk doesn’t even bother mentioning the highly published detail that Hannan actually outed her to one of her clients.

    Oddly, this writer on the same site gets it mostly right.

  54. 54
    low-tech cyclist says:


    @Mnemosyne: It is not that cut and dried. What if the pictures are of James Dobson, Fred Phelps, or some other outspoken homophobe naked with a guy hired from Definitely newsworthy. Do you want some state court in East Cowfuck, Oklahoma deciding on tort damages in an such an important free speech case?

    If the choice is between:

    1) everybody (including Dobson and Phelps) being legally protected against having pictures of their naked selves and their intimate encounters broadcast far and wide, or

    2) nobody having that protection, so that sure, we can see pix of Phelps having gay sex if it should happen, but a lot of private citizens get publicly humiliated for no good reason,

    then put me down for option #1, thankyewverymuch. I think we can find ways of bringing down these creeps that doesn’t involve innocent people’s lives as collateral damage.

  55. 55
    Bob2 says:

    @low-tech cyclist: It’s the old Michelangelo Signorile problem. Who do we choose to out? Signorile chose to out closeted anti-gay politicians under the premise that they’re affecting innocent lives already with their politics. Generally this falls under scope of public figure. Hulk Hogan’s sex life? Not public. David Geithner? Not public. Trickier when it’s a politician.

    But the fact of the matter is that for a long time, people knew who the gay politicans were. The political Ken Mehlmans of the world were widely known to be gay in the gay community, but just not wider range because people didn’t want to start outing wars. Larry Craig and others were also known and whispered about.

  56. 56
    Saskexpat says:

    @low-tech cyclist: I agree with the big picture approach, but courts in the US will have a hell of a time splitting that hair absent very specific statutory guidelines, which will NEVER be written in a way that doesn’t favor monied interests. Courts are very susceptible to being used as tools by monied interests, and local courts are very biased towards the status quo.
    Let me put it another way-local civil courts are the exact same institutions, with the exact same personnel making the actual decisions about cases, as criminal courts. People are rightly very skeptical of the fairness of the criminal courts. Why do you think the civil courts, run by a judge and staff who was working the criminal division a year or so ago, is going to be any fairer?

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