You may recall our dismay at one of the worst media “apologies” of the last year — The Daily Beast’s half-assed, defensive, self-aggrandizing responses to criticism of Nico Hines’s “story” about pretending to be gay to pick up Olympic athletes on Grindr during the 2016 Summer Games. Hines offered enough teasing detail about the athletes — some of whom came from countries where homosexuality is a crime, not all of whom were out of the closet — to make them identifiable. The Daily Beast defended the story long past defensibility — oh wait, it was never defensible — then apologized shittily.
Read a recap of the offense and the almost-as-offensive rejoinder(s) from the Beast here.
Nico never apologized. The Daily Beast ran no stories by him after the horrid gay-athlete-entrapment piece, but it also never announced that he had quit or was fired.
But now, Nico apparently “returns full-time” to the Daily Beast! (So he un-joined? partly? voluntarily? was there any penalty? was there conscious uncoupling? WHO CAN SAY?? ) The forever-together-and-never-apart-together-forever-we-two announcement comes in an editor’s note after a piece — published seven long, apology-free months after Nico’s entrapment piece ran/was pulled — called “What I’ve Learned” (under the wee red words: “AN APOLOGY”)! By Nico!
I do not want The Daily Beast to get clicks for this mishegas, so I shall give you a screen shot of the apology and the note. Then we shall discuss why this apology and editor’s note still blow chunks EVEN AFTER WE GAVE THESE SCHMUCKS THE TEMPLATE FOR AN APOLOGY AND HELD UP ANOTHER MEDIA SITE AS A GOOD EXAMPLE FOR THEM AND ALSO POINTED OUT WHY THE APOLOGY OF A SMALL BOY WHO THREATENED A FRIEND WITH A BOOGER WAS BETTER THAN ANY OF THEIR APOLOGIES GOOD GOD DAILY BEAST HOW MUCH MORE CAN WE DO FOR YOU??????
OK, Nico. In the first graf you say “should not have been conceived, written or published.” You are using passive voice (NO) and attempting to spread the blame around (ALSO NO). You did not publish the piece; your employer did. You wrote it. Say that. Apologize for that. Do not airily hand-wave at all the things that should not have happened. Battlefield Earth should not have happened. Olestra potato chips should not have happened. Your story was not a thing that happened. It was a THING YOU WROTE.
Wait, your second graf also starts with passive voice! Is this your signature move, Nico? Nowhere in this paragraph do you say I DID A SPECIFIC THING. You say there is a thing that should be talked about but not a thing that should be talked about without consent. You say what the article did. YOU DO NOT SAY WHAT YOU DID.
You need to acknowledge that you put human lives at risk. You coyly and sniggeringly wrote a story, deliberately dropping hints about innocent people’s identities, that could have caused irreparable harm to their families, that could have gotten these athletes fired or even killed. You might want to MENTION THIS in your apology. Just a thought.
And what is this fakakta business about “As I wrote about the dating lives of Olympians, gay and straight, men and women”? WUT. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT AN ARTICLE IN WHICH YOU A STRAIGHT DUDE PRETENDED TO BE GAY AND LURED GAY DUDES INTO HOOKUPS. (You didn’t actually follow through, but YOU LIED AND MANIPULATED AND USED HUMAN LIVES AS FODDER FOR YOUR WRITERLY DUMBASSERY.) Did you write articles about straight people and women? I DUNNO BUT WHO CARES, BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT RELEVANT TO THIS APOLOGY! What you owe us, the athletes, and the world is an apology for GAYBAITING AND HOMOPHOBIA. Read the tweets from gay Tongan athlete Amini Fonua, who comes from a country where it is illegal to be gay, whose friends you outed, who kept trying to make you and the Daily Beast see the light when neither of you would acknowledge how horrifying your behavior was.
Oh, and bunny? It doesn’t matter what “some viewers” felt. What matters is WHAT YOU DID. Apologize to us all. FOR WHAT YOU DID. Not what we might or might not feel.
And did you apologize individually and personally to the athletes whose lives you shattered? Hmm? I’m gonna bet that’s a no.
FINALLY, do I really have to point out that the problem is not “the difference between logging on to Tinder and logging on to Grindr”? First of all, that phrase needs an “I.” Second of all, “logging on” (by whom?) was never the problem. Deception, manipulation, homophobia, and glee at your own “I’m so baaaad!” naughtiness were the problem. Yours, you disingenuous weasel. USE A FUCKING FIRST PERSON PRONOUN, YOU FUCKING FUCK. And again, shut up about “any dating app”! NOT RELEVANT!
And now the editor’s note:
You did not “regrettably” publish, then remove. You published, defended, touted your own awesome ally status to the LGBT community, droned on about your noble journalism, re-edited the piece at least twice, THEN took it down. (In most cases, SorryWatch advises leaving up stories that require apologies, along with the appended editor’s note, so that everyone can see precisely what the apology is for, and learn. In this case, though, it was essential that the story, which had no news value and could only cause harm, come down. Which is irksomely convenient for the history-erasing Daily Beast and Nico, but still.)
Moving on. Beastikins, “regrettably” is not the same thing as “we regret.” (“Regrettably,” orange circus peanuts exist. “We regret” eating them.) (“Regrettably,” Nico’s outing story saw the light of day. “We regret” publishing it…except that you must not, since you do not say so.) Furthermore, “we regret” is not the same thing as “we’re sorry.” It’s not as good. Regret is about YOU. Apology is about acknowledging the impact of what you did on other people. And once again, you do not actually apologize. Just like last time, you pull the ol’ “we will continue to stand up to bullies and bigots” horn-blowing, touting your values and your noble independent journalism.
YOU ARE NOT HEROES. YOU GET NO COOKIES. You cannot call yourself “a proud and supportive voice for the LGBTQ community” IN YOUR (NON)APOLOGY FOR A HOMOPHOBIC STORY. Disconnect much? The word “proud” does NOT BELONG IN THIS EDITOR’S NOTE. Do not conclude this anthem to your own nobility by telling us you will “continue to” (!!!) be awesome in an editor’s note that purportedly makes clear that you HAVE NOT BEEN AWESOME.
You do not tell us what you’ve learned. You do not tell us what safeguards you’ve put in place to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again. You offer no explanation for how this story ran in the first place. You do not acknowledge that you initially defended this vomit-puddle of a story. You tell us that you and Nico have internally reflected so we should just trust you. Oh, OK! And then you DARE invoke “our current national climate” when that climate has been caused by someone else offering no specifics, trumpeting his own greatness, and telling the public “just trust me.”