The founder and chief-executive of online dating app Tinder has hit back at a sexual harassment claim made by co-founder Whitney Wolfe.
Former Tinder marketing vice-president Whitney Wolfe sued Tinder, its majority owner IAC and sister company Match.com, for sexual harassment and discrimination in the California Superior Court on Monday.
Wolfe alleges she was subject to ongoing sexual harassment and discrimination during a period of 18 months, beginning in late 2012, and leading up to her resignation in April.
She says co-founders Sean Rad and Justin Mateen removed her title as co-founder of the company because of her gender, with Rad telling Wolfe having a young, female co-founder “makes the company seem like a joke” and “devalues” the company.
Wolfe claims Mateen, the company’s chief marketing officer who she briefly dated, repeatedly insulted her in public, including calling her a “whore” at a company party, while also harassing her via private text messages.
Whitney Wolfe (right) attends a fashion event in 2012
Rad retaliated with an internal email which Tinder has provided to SmartCompany.
The email labels the communications between Mateen and Wolfe as “unacceptable” and Rad admits he could have “done more” in managing “a complex situation.”
But Rad claims Wolfe’s claim is “full of factual inaccuracies and omissions” and says the company did not discriminate against Wolfe because of her age or gender.
He says Wolfe’s complaint “paints an inaccurate picture of my actions and what went on here.”
The entire email reads:
I know it’s been a difficult 24 hours for all of us…
I’ve learned a lot through this process and I wish I had done more in terms of managing what was clearly a complex situation. The communications between Justin and Whitney that have come to my attention through this process are just unacceptable. However, as many of you know, Whitney’s legal complaint is full of factual inaccuracies and omissions. We did not discriminate against Whitney because of her age or gender, and her complaint paints an inaccurate picture of my actions and what went on here. We take gender equality very seriously and none of this reflects the Tinder and culture that we have worked so hard to create.
I truly appreciate your dedication.
Founder & CEO, Tinder”