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TikTok creators are exposing LGBTQ athletes using Grindr in Tokyo's Olympic Village, endangering them around the world

INSIDER logo INSIDER 7/27/2021 bgoggin@businessinsider.com (Benjamin Goggin)
a person holding a sign: Hiro Komae/AP Images © Provided by INSIDER Hiro Komae/AP Images
  • TikTok and Twitter users are using Grindr's "Explore" feature to find LGBTQ Olympic dating profiles.
  • Several videos posted on the apps reveal faces and identifying details of Olympians.
  • The content could endanger athletes from countries with harsh laws and perceptions of homosexuality.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Social media users on TikTok and Twitter are using Grindr to find athletes in Tokyo's Olympic Village with profiles on the gay dating app.

In numerous posts viewed by Insider, at least one of which has over 10,000 likes, users navigate to the Olympic Village in the app using its "Explore" feature and scroll through the profiles to post fawning content, following a similar trend using Tinder's "passport" feature.

But the risks for LGBTQ athletes using Grindr could be more severe than for straight athletes using Tinder, as homosexuality remains a crime in several countries represented at the Olympic Games.

The posts, which Insider is not linking to in an effort to protect the privacy of individuals featured in the screenshots, could potentially out athletes from anti-LGBTQ countries, as well as nearby Japanese people who live in a culture that Amnesty International says systemically discriminates against gay people.

Some viral posts show Grindr users' full faces

On TikTok, at least four videos identified by Insider exposed Olympic Village Grindr profiles. On Twitter, over 10 similar posts have been made.

Some screen recordings zoom in on specific profiles that show athletes' full faces and identifying information. One video has gone viral on TikTok with over 140,000 views. It has been pushed onto users' For You Pages.

"I used Grindr's explore feature to find myself and Olympian boyfriend," that post says. The video shows the user navigating to Tokyo's Olympic Village before they scroll, revealing over 30 full users' faces, with several profiles noting they were there for the Olympics. The profile of one user whose face was exposed signaled that he was from a country known for anti-LGBTQ politics.

In the comments, other users criticized the user for exposing the profiles. "Gay culture in Japan still isn't supported. Don't put these peeps in jeopardy just to get off on the other side of the world," one commenter wrote. The original poster responded by saying "appreciate you bringing this concern to the community's attention," though the TikTok video is still up.

TikTok did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

After this article was published, a Twitter spokesperson said the tweets "violated the Twitter Rules against hateful conduct and will need to be removed before the account owners can continue to use Twitter."

A Grindr spokesperson told Insider, "these individuals are in breach of Grindr's Terms and Conditions of Service which prohibit them from publicly displaying, publishing, or otherwise distributing any content or information that are part of the Grindr services. Out of respect for our users' privacy, and out of respect for the contractual commitments these individuals made, Grindr demands that these individuals remove their social media posts that include images from the Grindr platform."

Several countries at the Olympics have policies targeting LGBTQ people

While the international community has made great strides in LGBTQ rights in recent decades, there are still many countries participating in the Olympics that have discriminatory policies targeting LGBTQ people. This trend could lead to the targeting of queer athletes in those countries.

In Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, which all have Olympic delegations, same-sex sexual activity is still punishable by corporal punishment or execution. Mor

Japan, this year's Olympics host country, is known for its conservative view of LGBTQ rights. The country's gay marriage ban was only ruled unconstitutional in May, and gay marriage still isn't legal in the country.

In Russia, an Olympic powerhouse, pervasive homophobia has frequently led to violent hate crimes against LGBTQ people and activists. In 2020, at least one gay activist was killed and seven were injured, according to the SOVA Center for Information and Analysis. The government also continues to push anti-LGBTQ laws, banning gay marriage and trans adoption in April.

Grindr and the Olympics have a complicated history

This isn't the first time people have used Grindr in a way that could jeopardize Olympians' privacy.

During the 2016 Rio games, a Daily Beast editor (who was at the time reported to be straight) reported that he used Grindr to engage with LGBTQ Olympians. In the original version of the article, he included identifying details of athletes, including country and sport, which critics slammed for potentially outing and endangering people.

The Beast eventually removed the article with an editor's note apologizing for the article.

Read the original article on Insider
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