In a great twist of fate, a former Tinder executive is suing the company for sexual harassment. Marketing Vice President Whitney Wolfe alleges the company's top executives mistreated her, devalued her role, and eventually pushed her out with their discriminatory behavior.
In her lawsuit, filed in California state courts, Wolfe claims the incidents began in late 2012 and lasted for 18 months. Wolfe believes CEO Sean Rad and chief marketing officer Justin Mateen stripped her of her title as co-founder because of her gender. In a meeting in November 2012, Mateen said having a "girl founder" devalued Tinder. A year later, her title was formally removed. Wolfe says she is responsible for the name "Tinder," so she was certainly involved early on, and in a major way.
Wolfe also names Tinder's parent company, InterActiveCorp, as a defendant. IAC has acted swiftly, suspending Mateen as the investigation progresses. IAC has already determined that messages Mateen sent to Wolfe were "inappropriate." However, an IAC spokesperson told Reuters, "We unequivocally condemn these messages but believe that Ms. Wolfe’s allegations with respect to Tinder and its management are unfounded.”
Mateen and Wolfe were in a relationship at one point, and Mateen was technically her boss. After they broke up, the bulk of the harassment began. In a marketing meeting, Mateen called Wolfe "a desperate loser." He told Tinder employees she was an alcoholic. When Mateen called her a "whore" in front of other Tinder employees, Wolfe resigned.
During those 18 months, Wolfe did bring the matter to Rad's attention a number of times. When she complained to Rad, her complaints were ignored. Rad seemed to be aware of the harassing messages, mostly via text, that Wolfe was receiving from Mateen. However, he told Wolfe her job was to "keep [Mateen] calm" and that she was was acting like a "dramatic or emotional girl."
It seems Wolfe suffered some serious abuse for swiping left on a Tinder executive. A California case will examine the case, and it seems like Wolfe has plenty of evidence to show Mateen's abusive ways.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.