Tinder, the iOS App Store’s fastest-growing dating app, set itself apart from the online dating competition in early 2013 by combining the personality-algorithm matching of OKCupid with GPS functionality, allowing users to comb through eligible, interested singles faster than ever before. Yesterday, the app gained a different sort of attention after former Tinder executive Whitney Wolfe filed a wide-ranging sexual harassment claim against the company. The complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, included copies of enough scathing text exchanges sent to Wolfe by co-founder/CMO Justin Mateen to prompt the company to announce Mateen’s temporary suspension”pending an ongoing internal investigation.”
Whitney Wolfe, a former executive at the popular dating start-up Tinder, has filed a lawsuit against the company, along with its majority owner, IAC/InterActiveCorp, on sexual harassment and discrimination claims. The lawsuit, filed on Monday in state court in Los Angeles, says that Tinder’s chief executive and chief marketing officer subjected Ms. Wolfe to “a barrage of horrendously sexist, racist and otherwise inappropriate comments, emails and text messages.” Ms. Wolfe’s suit also said that complaints about the harassment to high-level executives at IAC were ignored and that she was forced to resign as a result. Ms. Wolfe said in the lawsuit that even though she was instrumental in the establishment of the dating app, her colleagues did not call her a founder because of her age and gender. When she would ask why only her name among the five founders was absent from some new coverage, the lawsuit said, the other founders would tell her “you’re a girl” and that a 24-year-old “girl founder” would devalue the company. “Here you have the story of a woman who was a founder and an integral part of the company’s success and even within that, she was still subjected to atrocious sexist behavior, behind company doors,” said David Lowe, one of the lawyers representing Ms. Wolfe.