Former Tinder executive accuses ex-CEO of sexual assault, files lawsuit against company

A former executive of dating application Tinder filed a lawsuit against the company on Monday, alleging that its ex-chief executive officer had sexually assaulted her. The lawsuit also said that she had been fired after she complained about the incident, which happened in 2016, the Associated Press reported.

The complainant accused former Match Group and Tinder Chief Executive Officer Gregory Blatt of making lewd comments directed towards her at an office party and later forcibly kissing her without consent in front of witnesses. The woman’s lawyer said that the company, which is owned by InterActiveCorp, had initiated an investigation that concluded that the woman and Blatt had engaged in “consensual cuddling”.

Last year, the woman had made her complaints public with a $2-billion case against the company but she later withdrew it after it was revealed that she had signed an arbitration agreement with the company, according to The Los Angeles Times. After the incident at the party, the woman’s lawsuit said that she was “marginalized, subject to additional harassing, offensive, and insulting behavior, put on administrative leave, publicly accused of consenting to her attacker’s advances, and finally, wrongfully terminated by Defendants.”

Following the sacking, Match spokesperson Justine Sacco had claimed that the woman along with others had been sacked for being unable to fulfill job responsibilities. Match Group Chief Executive Mandy Ginsberg told the complainant that she had been dismissed due to her “public position against the company in a valuation process” and communications related to work with her lawyers.

The woman had also reportedly filed a separate lawsuit against InterActiveCorp in which a few Tinder co-founders had accused the company of undervaluing the dating app so that they would not have to pay more to the founders. The complainant, who was initially put on administrative leave and subsequently fired on August 15, 2018, sought monetary damages for negligence, wrongful firing, sexual battery, violence based on gender and retaliation, CNBC reported.

“As it relates to the matter alleged in the lawsuit, an incident occurred in late 2016 and was reported at the end of April 2017,” a spokesperson for Match Group was quoted as saying. “The Match Group Board – with the assistance of experienced outside counsel from two nationally recognized law firms – promptly conducted a careful and thorough investigation under the direction of independent Board members, concluded, among other things, that there was no violation of law or company policy, and took appropriate action.”