Ft. Lauderdale, FL- After explosive allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination surfaced against Tinder CEO Josh Mateen, he was suspended by the app’s parent company IAC. But Mateen denies the allegations, as expected, and claims the suit against him contains “factual inaccuracies.”
Former marketing executive of the casual hook-up app Whitney Wolfe filed her suit Monday and it’s a doozy. The suit contains a slew of salacious allegations which characterize Mateen as a misogynist who frequently addressed Wolfe with disparaging remarks, calling her a “whore” and “slut” in front of coworkers. And telling her that having a woman as co-founder made the company look like a “joke” and “devalues” Tinder.
The allegations in the suit are pretty shocking and says the hostile environment represented “the worst of the misogynist, alpha-male stereotype too often associated with technology startups.”
The suit also contains a serious of text messages in which Mateen says some nasty things to Wolfe. And she alleges that when she approached CEO Sean Rad with her complaints, she was ignored and was ultimately fired even though she offered to resign.
Suspension doesn’t mean he has been fired and it’s likely that once the controversy blows he’ll be at the helm of the company again, meaning it probably won’t change much about the “Boy’s Club” atmosphere of the tech sector, which has recently come under fire for the lack of female representation in executive and engineering positions.
In an announcement IAC, a New York-based company, said Mateen was suspended pending an internal investigation. Tinder’s parent company acknowledged Mateen sent private text messages to Wolfe, containing “inappropriate they denied some of the allegations against the company and Rad are “unfounded,” according to NBC.
Rad, too, denies Wolfe’s allegations, stating the suit contains “factual inaccuracies and ommissions.” Rad said in a statement to company employees, “[H]er complaint paints an inaccurate picture of my actions and what went on here.” Rad insists neither he nor the company discriminated against Wolfe because of her age or sex.
Only time and an investigation will determine if the egregious behavior Wolfe alleges is true. If she can prove the harassment and discrimination took place, she could secure a sizable settlement.
Sexual harassment claims are typically he-said she-said situations and the issue gets murky when the main contenders in the suit had a previous romantic relationship (Wolfe and Mateen dated briefly). Verifying claims of sexual harassment or other workplace discrimination can be challenging. It takes the expertise of a sexual harassment attorney to prove any sexual harassment claims.
Men and women who face sexual harassment are often too afraid to come forward because they fear they will be fired or otherwise punished for speaking out. In many cases, it is much easier to prove retaliation, which often goes hand in hand with workplace discrimination, than it is the actual harassment. When someone faces repeated sexual harassment or has been punished for reporting it, they should contact a sexual harassment attorney immediately to assure they are successful at holding their harasser and employer accountable for allowing a hostile environment to persist.