Tinder has been sued by their former marketing manager who claims she suffered sexist abuse whilst working at the dating startup.
Whitney Wolfe, former VP of marketing and a co-founder of Tinder, says she was subjected to abusive and sexist behaviour by Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen.
Wolfe claims that Mateen called her a “whore” in front of CEO Sean Rad, and told her that they were taking her co-founder status away because it “devalues” and “makes the company seem like a joke”.
IAC and Match.com are also named as defendants in the case.
Wolfe’s suit says she was instrumental in engineering and organising Tinder’s initial campus-based marketing strategy.
Wolfe worked with Tinder while it was at IAC-funded Hatch Labs in 2012 – before Mateen joined the company – and when the dating app was still called Matchbook.
The suit says the name was changed because it was too similar to Match.com, who “provided HR services to Tinder, and CEO Rad reported to Match.com CEO, Sam Yagan.”
The suit says Joe Munoz, who developed the app, told Ms. Wolfe: “I credit you 100% with the growth of Tinder and I think that sending you around the US to visit sororities was absolutely the best investment we could possibly have made on the marketing side.”
However Wolfe says that despite being named as a co-founder, she was not duly represented as so in the press.
The suit says: “When Tinder-related articles appeared in more traditional business outlets, Wolfe’s name was often nowhere to be seen. When she would ask why only her name of the five founders was absent they would tell her “you’re a girl.”
In November 2013, Wolfe was told she could not be named as co-founder, Mateen saying that “Facebook and Snapchat don’t have girl founders, it just makes it look like Tinder was some accident.”
Wolfe dated Mateen, and as their relationship turned sour, Wolfe says she was subjected to “sexist, racist, and otherwise inappropriate comments, emails, and text messages”.
The texts accompanying the suit see Mateen calling one of her female friends a “liberal lying desperate slut”, talking about “middle age Muslim pigs” and referring to “fucking” the wife of a prominent blogger who wanted to do a story on Wolfe.
Wolfe also alleges that Rad sent her a text in the summer of 2013, “depicting IAC Chairman Barry Diller as a penis.”
She says her complaints about the sexist abuse were ignored by Rad.
Wolfe says she offered her resignation, asking for severance and vested equity, which Rad dismissed, and she was later fired.
IAC emailed USA Today a statement, which said:
“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.”
Read the full list of complaints and texts here.