Popular dating app Tinder is facing claims of sexism after a former executive sued the start-up up company for sexual harassment and discrimination.
In a lawsuit filed on Monday, Whitney Wolfe, an early employee and former president of marketing, alleged that Tinder’s chief marketing officer, Justin Mateen, treated her inappropriately because she was a woman.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Wolfe’s lawsuit claims that she was called a “whore” and was stripped of her co-founder title. The suit also says that Chief Executive Officer Sean Rad ignored her complaints.
The claim adds that Wolfe and Mateen were in a brief relationship in 2013, but when they broke up in the autumn, their personal problems also arose in the workplace.
A spokesman for media company IAC Inc., which owns a majority stake in Los Angeles-based Tinder, said Mateen had been suspended during an on-going internal investigation.
The spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal: “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.”
Wolfe is asking for compensatory damages, including lost pay, punitive damages and restitution. The lawsuit was filed in Superior Court of the State of California, Los Angeles.
The Tinder app allows users to find single people in their vicinity: images appear on the screen and users then swipe “yes” or “no” to the potential date. If both users swipe “yes”, a match is created and the “couple” can then begin talking via the app.
Critics have commented on the shallowness of the concept and the way it makes people somewhat disposable – but as of April 2014, Tinder is available in 24 languages and has around 10 million active daily users.