Ex-Match Group CEO Greg Blatt is suing Tinder co-founder Sean Rad and former VP of marketing and communications Rosette Pambakian for defamation of character. Blatt is seeking a total of $50 million in damages.
The counter-lawsuit comes in response to allegations made by Pambakian that Blatt sexually assaulted her in a hotel room after the dating app’s 2016 Christmas party.
He claims that the interaction was consensual and that the two of them kissed while fully-clothed and engaged in “snuggling and nuzzling”. However, Pambakian’s side of the story argues he groped her breasts and upper thighs while kissing her shoulders, chest and neck.
In Blatt’s filing he insisted the pair had a flirty relationship and referenced a message that Pambakian sent to a group chat which contained a number of female Tinder employees.
The message read: “About last night…we should keep the hotel room antics to ourselves. It would be bad if word got out that greg [sic] came back to the room. So for his sake and ours let’s keep that in the vault.
“But by all means we can rehash it amongst ourselves as much as possible [face with tears of joy emoji]”.
Blatt also targets Rad by claiming that he is using Pambakian to bolster his own lawsuit against IAC and Match Group.
Several Tinder co-founders launched a $2 billion case against the parent companies in August 2018, contesting that the startup was deliberately undervalued to lower the value of early employee stock options.
Pambakian’s allegations of sexual assault and wrongful termination were originally included in this lawuit.
However, she was forced to withdraw after it was discovered that she signed an arbitration agreement in one of ther early contracts. This led to her independently taking legal action by herself almost a year later.
At the end of last month, IAC accused Rad of paying his fellow plaintiffs for their support in his lawsuit. Now Blatt is claiming that Pambakian received a significant upfront payment for her initial participation, and is also set to receive “millions” more if Rad is successful.
Pambakian and Rad’s lawyer Orin Snyder told The Verge: “This is a new low for IAC/Match and their former CEO. They continue to retaliate against and smear a victim of sexual assault and the person who reported it.
“Their attacks are based on lies and documents that are taken out of context. When all of the evidence comes to light, it will be obvious what happened here.”
However, it is worth noting that IAC and Match Group are not at all involved with Blatt’s new lawsuit.
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