Tinder’s Justin Mateen in Marina del Rey, California, in May 2014. Image: Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images By Todd Wasserman2014-07-01 13:58:59 UTC
Tinder has suspended one of its cofounders who was sued by a former female employee for alleged sexual harassment.
Tinder’s owner, IAC, has suspended Justin Mateen, who is also the company’s CMO, while it carries out a probe of issues raised in the lawsuit. Whitney Wolfe, a cofounder and VP, sued Mateen, her ex-boyfriend.
IAC offered the following statement on the matter:
“Immediately upon receipt of the allegations contained in Ms. Wolfe’s complaint, Mr. Mateen was suspended pending an ongoing internal investigation. Through that process, it has become clear that Mr. Mateen sent private messages to Ms. Wolfe containing inappropriate content. We unequivocally condemn these messages, but believe that Ms. Wolfe’s allegations with respect to Tinder and its management are unfounded.”
Wolfe, filed a complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday that claims Mateen called her a “whore” and threatened to take away her cofounder status because having a young female cofounder “makes the company seem like a joke” and devalues the company.
The suit also names Tinder CEO Sean Rad for assisting Mateen in subjecting Wolfe to a “barrage of horrendously sexist, racist, and otherwise inappropriate comments, emails and text messages.”
The complaint continues:
Although it is tempting to describe the conduct of Tinder’s senior executives as “frat-like,” it was in fact much worse — representing the worst of the misogynist, alpha-male stereotype too often associated with technology startups.
Wolfe, who is in her mid-20s, complained to Rad, according to the suit, but Rad ignored her and dismissed her as “annoying” and “dramatic.” After Mateen allegedly called Wolfe a “whore” at a company event, she offered to resign in consideration for a “modest severance and the vesting of her stock,” the suit says. Instead, Rad “snidely rejected the offer and fired her.”
Tinder CEO Sean Rad.
The suit also included some texting conversations purportedly between Mateen and Wolfe:
The dating app, which was founded in 2012, uses Facebook profiles and geolocation data to identify plausible matches. If both parties “swipe right” on each others’ pictures, the app introduces them in a chat. In February, the app claimed it was receiving 750 million swipes a day.
The allegations follow other recent claims of male cofounders acting acting inappropriately. Most recently, RadiumOne fired CEO Gurbaksh Chahal after he pleaded guilty to domestic violence and battery charges in April.
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