Bumble is facing major criticism from animal rights activists after images were posted to Instagram of people riding elephants at the app’s India launch party in Jaipur.
The elephants, a popular attraction at the City Palace, had their faces painted with the Bumble logo for the occasion.
The party had a wide variety of traditional Indian decorations and was attended by CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd, COO Sarah Jones Simmer and a number of other executives.
PETA’s Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman told Babe.net: “Elephant rides are abuse—no exception— and no one should even consider climbing on an elephant’s back.
“Still-nursing baby elephants are dragged away from their mothers, immobilized, and beaten and gouged with sharp sticks to break their spirits.”
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The controversy is out of character for Bumble, an app that continuously strives for equality and prides itself on its moral values.
Whitney Wolfe Herd has yet to comment on the disapproval, but in an interview with Indian TV network CNBC TV18 she did say: “We never have to compromise our values, we will never have to take money from something we feel is not in line with our mission.
“Candidly, we have turned down so many opportunities over the years, that could’ve been great revenue markers, but really negative ones for our mission.”
Priyanka Chopra, the Bollywood actress who was highly-influential in Bumble’s move into India, has come under-fire from PETA as well.
Her high-profile wedding with popstar Nick Jonas, which took place a few days before the Bumble event, also featured elephant rides.
Singles uploading pictures with sedated tigers to dating apps has been an ongoing issue. Tinder donated $10,000 to Project Cat last year, as part of its #NoTigerSelfies campaign.
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