Tinder has suspended Justin Mateen, its chief marketing officer and co-founder, after a former executive filed a lawsuit Monday claiming she was sexually harassed and discriminated against based on her gender while working for the dating-app company.
Whitney Wolfe, who had been vice president of marketing, claimed the startup’s founders engaged in sexual harassment and sex discrimination as early as May 2012.
Wolfe said Mateen repeatedly called her a “whore,” including in front of Chief Executive Sean Rad who allegedly ignored her complaints. Wolfe also claims Mateen stripped her “co-founder” title because he said having a female co-founder “makes the company seem like a joke.”
According to the suit, Wolfe resigned in April after Mateen called her a “whore” at a company party.
In the wake of the filing, InterActiveCorp, which owns a majority stake in the startup, issued a statement saying Mateen had been suspended.
“Immediately upon receipt of the allegations contained in Ms. Wolfe’s complaint, Mr. Mateen was suspended pending an ongoing international investigation,” the statement said. “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.”
IAC and portfolio company Match.com are also listed as defendants. Tinder is a part of IAC’s Match Inc. division. In April, IAC upped its stake in Tinder by striking a deal with Palo Alto venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya, who held a 10 percent stake in the business. The terms and size of the transaction were not disclosed.