The accused and the accuser: Mateen (left) and Wolfe.
When it comes to sexual harassment allegations, Tinder is the new American Apparel. Surprised? No? Hmm, whatever gave them away?
According to TMZ, the app "best known for hooking people up who want to bang" may have a sexual harassment problem. The dating app and its parent company is being sued for sexual harassment by its former VP of Marketing, Whitney Wolfe.
The details—if true—are horrible. Wolfe claims that after she swiped left on one of the company's senior executives, Chief Marketing Officer, Justin Mateen, she was subject to a campaign of misogyny and harassment. According to her lawsuit, she was called a "whore" in front of the company's CEO, barraged with inappropriate text messages, and told that her name was left off a list of the company's founders because "you're a girl." Wolfe also claims that after a fashion blog approached her to be the subject of a story, senior management at Tinder were angered that a female assistant was not similarly profiled and threatened to "fuck" the writer's wife. Wolfe claims that she was eventually fired as the culmination of the abuse.
After the story broke, Tinder's parent company, IAC, suspended Mateen pending an internal investigation, and admitted that he had sent a series of inappropriate texts to her, but denied the rest of Wolfe's allegations. The case sheds light on what critics have seized on as an Animal House ethos at some new technology companies, but it also provides another management lesson for budding tech founders: Don't be a sexual harasser, bro.