Tinder founders Sean Rad and Rosette Pambakian have reacted to former CEO Greg Blatt suing them for defamation, calling the move a ‘smear’. They have filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that the litigation “seeks to chill protected speech”.
Blatt announced he was taking action against the pair after Pambakian accused him of sexual harassment. She claimed that he touched her inappropriately in a hotel room at a work party in 2016.
Her allegations initially came as part of a broader lawsuit relating to the compensation early Tinder employees received for building the company. The marketer’s contract contained an arbitration clause, however, so she was forced to withdraw from that case.
She has since raised the issue separately, but Match Group has again sought to dismiss by highlighting the arbitration clause.
Blatts camp, claiming the sexual harassment case is defamatory, said in a recent statement: “Rad and Pambakian have attempted to weaponize an important social movement [the #metoo movement], undermining the plight of true victims of sexual abuse by making false accusations in cynical pursuit of a $2 billion windfall.
“(…) Blatt is expected to be a key witness for IAC and Match in the Valuation Lawsuit. Damaging Blatt’s credibility and tarnishing his character are important elements of Pambakian’s and Rad’s litigation strategy in that action.”
Orin Snyder, Rad and Pambakian’s attorney, said in response: “This [defamation] lawsuit is intended to muzzle Rosette and Sean from telling the truth about how [IAC chairman] Barry Diller and Greg Blatt stole from their employees and covered up sexual assault allegations.”
“Unfortunately, unlawful retaliatory lawsuits like this one designed to silence victims and violate their First Amendment rights are all too common in the #metoo era.”
Blatt’s attorney has since fired back, saying to TechCrunch: “We fully expected this run-of-the-mill, procedural smoke screen to be made by Rad and Pambakian. These arguments are legally wrong and we expect to prevail in Court. The bottom line is, Rad and Pambakian conspired to defame Mr. Blatt and should be held responsible.”
A 2013 Gawker article levels harassment accusations at an unnamed LA-based dating app CEO. Some commentators have speculated that the article could be referencing Blatt.
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