- Forbes interviewed 13 former employees of the dating app Badoo, whose founder, Andrey Andreev, owns a majority stake in Bumble.
- The ex-employees described debauched company parties, the objectification of women, and software updates named after porn stars.
- Andreev himself is also accused of making inappropriate remarks about Badoo’s user base and potential new employees. He denied the claims.
- Badoo’s holding company, MagicLab, said the Forbes report was “reckless” and pointed to the fact that all the stories were from former employees.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A new report from Forbes delves into the corporate culture of Badoo, the Russian dating-app company whose billionaire founder Andrey Andreev owns a majority stake in Bumble.
Forbes interviewed 13 former Badoo employees both on and off the record about behaviour at the company, which they said included drug-fuelled parties, the objectification of women, and sordid software updates.
Many of the stories emanate from 2011 and 2012, about six years after Badoo was founded and around the time that the company’s growth was starting to accelerate.
The Forbes report’s more lurid details include:
- One former employee said they saw photos of debauched company parties where “everyone was naked and doing lines of coke” circulating on internal emails.
- Sources also told Forbes that engineering updates were named after porn stars, although the report said Andreev put a stop to that in 2018.
- A video, the report said, circulated of an employee receiving oral sex from a prostitute. One former employee said she watched the video “at the urging of co-workers,” while four others said they had knowledge of it.
- Jessica Powell, the company’s former chief marketing officer, said women were “routinely discussed in terms of their appearance” and that she was told to make prospective job candidates “horny” to work for Badoo.
Badoo’s holding company, MagicLab, said the Forbes report was “reckless” and pointed to the fact that all the stories were from former employees.
Andreev was interviewed for the piece. He said Powell’s assessment was an attempt to market her novel “The Big Disruption,” which was published earlier this year.
“There are many ways to promote a fictional book in order to attract attention, and Jessica is a very talented marketing professional,” Andreev said.
Andreev himself is accused of making inappropriate remarks. A former executive on the marketing team said when Badoo launched in the US in the early 2010s, Andreev complained of its predominantly Latino user base.
“Andrey was always making it clear that white was better,” the former executive said.
Last year, Andreev was accused of rejecting a job candidate on the basis of her weight. “Andrey said, ‘No, she’s fat. Can you imagine her speaking to the press and being the face of Badoo?'” a former employee said.
Andreev denied both allegations to Forbes. “Diversity is at the core of our brands and values,” he said.
Andreev set up Badoo in 2006 and was intimately involved in the launch of Bumble with founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd – who previously left and sued Tinder over sexual-harassment allegations. Both Badoo and Bumble sit within the MagicLab group of companies, which is run by Andreev. His net worth is $US1.5 billion, according to Forbes.
In a statement to Business Insider, a MagicLab spokesman said:
MagicLab is a family of brands that are built off of diversity and thrive in addressing societal issues by building relationships all over the world.
We are extremely disappointed in the reckless reporting of the Forbes reporter. Not a single current employee is quoted, our fact-check corrections were largely ignored, and the journalist refused to talk to dozens of former and current employees who came forward to counter the sensationalist narrative of only a few former disgruntled employees.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.