As we previously reported, Tinder cofounder Whitney Wolfe is suing the company, alleging she was sexually harassed.
Businessweek’s Nick Summers just published a scathing look at Tinder, an article called “The Truth About Tinder and Women Is Even Worse Than You Think.” It is largely Summers’ opinion based on a two-week period he spent with the company last summer and other reporting.
To recap: While working on Tinder, vice president for marketing Wolfe and another cofounder, CMO Justin Mateen, dated for a while. They broke up. The breakup turned ugly, and its nastiness spilled into the workplace. Wolfe alleges she was forced to resign. In her lawsuit, Wolfe included a string of texts from Mateen filled with racial slurs and insults that would be hard to stomach under any circumstance, much less in the workplace.
But Wolfe’s accusation goes even further. Her suit says, “Although it is tempting to describe the conduct of Tinder’s senior executives as ‘frat-like,’ it was in fact much worse — representing the worst of the misogynist, alpha-male stereotype too often associated with technology startups.”
In his article, Summers seems to agree, calling Tinder “a male-dominated, chauvinistic culture.” He then documents several examples of what he dubs “poor judgement” on the part of Mateen and, to a lessor extent, CEO Sean Rad.
For instance, when the Urban Dictionary posted the new term, “Tinderslut,” both Mateen and Rad celebrated by posting a picture of it to their Instagram feeds, Summers reports. Rad later deleted that picture.
Mateen’s Instagram feed also had a photo of an overweight man looking joyful on President Obama’s re-election night, captioned with a joke about food stamps.
And he posted lots of artwork of naked or scantily clad women in which he wrote sexually derogatory comments.
Whether any or all of this adds up to the kind of “misogynist” work environment that Wolfe alleges is for the court system to decide. We do know that Tinder’s parent company, IAC/InterActiveCorp, suspended Mateen pending an investigation and condemned the texts he sent to Wolfe.
“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.”