Whitney Wolfe, one of the co-founders of Tinder, has brought a lawsuit against her former company claiming sexual harassment and sex discrimination.
Wolfe, 24, left the HQ of dating app Tinder after her co-founder title was stripped from her. The app, which lets users decide on potential dating matches with just a swipe on a smartphone, was founded in late 2012. She claimed that Chief Managing Officer Justin Mateen told her that having a "24-year-old girl" as a co-founder made the company "seem like a joke", and called her a "whore" in front of the company’s CEO, Sean Rad.
Wolfe claims that when she complained to Rad he ignored her comments and says she was eventually forced out of her job.
The atmosphere at Tinder is referred to in the lawsuit as "frat-like".
According to the case, put forward by Ms Wolfe, Mateen pursued her romantically in 2012, but after a time dating, things ended badly and he began sending her abusive text messages, threatening other men she was interested in, and female friends.
Referring to another man she was interested in, he said "I will s**t on him in life. He can enjoy my leftovers" and referring to a Muslim man she knew, he said "You prefer to social climb middle-aged Muslim pigs that stand for nothing." He also called a female friend of hers a "liberal lying desperate slut."
Tinder executives Justin Mateen, Jonathan Badeen, Sean Rad and Whitney Wolfe at an event earlier this year
Tinder has released a statement, saying: "Immediately upon receipt of the allegations contained in Ms. Wolfe’s complaint, Mr. Mateen was suspended pending an ongoing internal investigation. Through that process, it has become clear that Mr. Mateen sent private messages to Ms. Wolfe containing inappropriate content. We unequivocally condemn these messages, but believe that Ms. Wolfe’s allegations with respect to Tinder and its management are unfounded."
However, the lawsuit will not help the reputation that tech start-up companies have gained for being sexist – with few female employees, and numerous reports of misogynistic behaviour, such as this case.
Words: Victoria Gray Images: Getty, Twitter