This is definitely worse than your worst Tinder horror story: Whitney Wolfe, Tinder's former VP of marketing is suing the hookup startup after what she describes as a spree of misogyny and sexual harassment at the hands of its CMO Justin Mateen.
TMZ reports that Wolfe (seen up top) is suing her former employer, along with massive fungal media growth IAC, which owns a majority stake in Tinder. Her suit alleges an ugly litany of demeaning behavior, from being called a "whore" by Mateen (left) in front of Tinder CEO Sean Rad, to being stripped of her co-founder title because she was a young woman:
She says [Mateen] called her a whore in front of the CEO, imploring her not to look at him with "her ugly eyes."
Charming! I'm looking at the court documents right now, and there's a lot more macho-dickhead material where that came from (all emphasis added):
Racism and sexism!
Mr. Mateen and Mr. Rad subjected Ms. Wolfe to a barrage of horrendously sexist, racist, and otherwise inappropriate comments, emails and text messages, including describing one person as a "liberal lying desperate slut" and others as "middle age Muslim pigs" and referring, for example, to "fucking" the wife of a prominent blogger, and a text depicting IAC Chairman Barry Diller as a penis. 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.
When Tinder-related articles appeared in more traditional business outlets, Wolfe's name was often nowhere to be seen. When she would ask why only her name of the five founders was absent they would tell her "you're a girl." They stated that they couldn't include her name in the business press, because it "makes the company look like it was an accident."
Even... more... sexism!
Mr. Mateen went on to say that he didn't want boys trying to date Ms. Wolfe due to her co-founder status, and that being a female co-founder of Tinder was "slutty" because it is an app people use "to hook up."
A relationship between the two allegedly went very sour:
Mr. Mateen instructed Ms. Wolfe to be "a good girl" and stay away from other men for a period of six months during which time he would evaluate her to determine whether she was "worthy" of being with him, or whether she was the "slut" that he considered her to be before she met him.
In or about January 2014, Ms. Wolfe was contacted by the Creative Director of an influential fashion and lifestyle blog. This Creative Director wanted to do a feature on Ms. Wolfe in her role as a young female co-founder of a very hot dating app startup. Ms. Wolfe immediately recognized the marketing potential of such a piece —- which would be read by large numbers of young, trend-setting women. Rather than welcoming the free publicity, Mr. Mateen became incensed and claimed that the Creative Director was "disrespecting him" by doing a feature on Ms. Wolfe (his ex-girlfriend) and not focusing on other women, including a female assistant, in the story. He said that the Creative Director wanted to have sex with Ms. Wolfe because of her co-founder title. He became so angry that he threatened to "fuck" the Creative Director's wife, and said that he would "be a handyman for my backyard and will be on a leash."
I wonder if they play softball with Snapchat? Wolfe concludes her suit with claims that she was dismissed as a result of this abuse. An IAC spokesperson provided the following statement to USA Today:
"Immediately upon receipt of the allegations contained in Ms. Wolfe's complaint, Mr. Mateen was suspended pending an ongoing internal investigation," IAC said in an emailed statement. "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."
At any rate, get ready for a lot of really awful "swipe left" jokes on Twitter.