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Tinder Co-Founder Suspended After Executive Claims She Was Called a "Whore"

Tinder Co-Founder Suspended After Executive Claims She Was Called a "Whore"

Tinder

Justin Mateen, a co-founder of the West Hollywood-based hook-up app Tinder, has been suspended after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced in a lawsuit filed against the company in Los Angeles Superior Court.

The suit by Whitney Wolfe, the app's former vice president of marketing and a self-proclaimed co-founder who says she came up with the Tinder name, alleges that boss Mateen had the ugly habit of calling her a "whore," and once said that naming her as an official co-founder would "devalue" the company and paint it as a "joke."

The company said in a statement sent to L.A. Weekly that it found that some of Mateen's "private messages" were indeed "inappropriate." However, the firm denies allegations against the company as a whole:
 

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.

Wolfe and Mateen dated and, afterward, she alleges, he became verbally abusive and harassed her, calling her a "gold digger" and "slut" in the process. The lawsuit describes some of Mateen's alleged texts this way:

He subjected her to a barrage of aggressive, angry texts in which Mr. Mateen berated her for, among other things, possibly talking to another man (“I will shit on him in life…. He can enjoy my left overs”) (attached hereto as Exhibit 4), for speaking to Muslim men while she was on family vacation in Aspen (“You prefer to social climb middle aged Muslim pigs that stand for nothing.”) (attached hereto as Exhibit 5), even for being friendly with another girl who he referred to as a “liberal lying desperate slut.” (Attached hereto as Exhibit 6). He even went so far as to threaten Ms. Wolfe that if she ever “hurt his pride” —- alluding to her being with other men or having a new boyfriend —-, he would fire her.

The suit says that Wolfe was used as the female face of the company so that it could market itself to young women. Even though she says she was successful in shaping the image of the app, Mateen continued to allegedly harass her.

Tinder Co-Founder Suspended After Executive Claims She Was Called a "Whore"

rezlaw.com

She says she appealed to CEO Sean Rad, to no avail. 

Wolfe says in the suit that her last straw was when Wolfe allegedly called her a whore at a company event:

 ... She offered to resign in consideration for modest severance and the vesting of her stock. Mr. Rad snidely rejected the offer and fired her.

The suit, which names parent companies Match.com and IAC, seeks unspecified damages for back pay, "front pay," equity, benefits and more. It alleges emotional distress, defamation, unfair business practices, retaliation, failure to prevent sexual harassment, sexual harassment, and discrimination.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.