Gay Dating App Jack'd Challenges Alleged Racism on Grindr

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Photo: Facebook.

In a new video currently available for viewing on YouTube, gay dating app Jack'd claims that 37 percent of Americans identify as Black, Hispanic, Latino or Asian.

"You see them on Jack'd, do you see them on Grindr?" the video asks.

Grindr, the most popular of the gay dating apps, has repeatedly come under fire for allowing its members to post "No Blacks, no Asians," in their profiles. "Your dating preferences are actually racist," continues the Jack'd video. "We will be the generation that ends racism."

The video was created by Alon Rivel, who serves as Director of Global Marketing for Jack'd. Rivel, who is a 29 year old gay man, told SFGN that an African American who works with Jack'd got "ew.....you're black" as a response on Grindr.

"We need as a community to be better because we are all minorities," Rivel said. "It's one thing to not want to respond to someone because you're not attracted to them, but to outwardly say it is unacceptable. People of color experience this every day—it impacts their self-worth. On Jack'd we don't tolerate this. We are known as a safe space for people of color."

Shaun Haines, a gay African American man, told SFGN that when he reached out to a Grindr profile, the response was "I don't fuck the n........"

Grindr told SFGN that their policy is to not allow for such behavior on their site. Peter Sloterdyk, VP of Marketing for Grindr, provided SFGN with a statement which they also gave to the Advocate.

"Grindr recognizes that sexual racism is a larger problem within our community and impacts all dating apps, not just Grindr," Sloterdyk said. "We prohibit the use of offensive or racist language and encourage our community to report offending profiles through our app's built-in system. We take these reports seriously and respond to by censoring or banning offending profiles. We consistently look for ways of improving the Grindr experience and do so through ongoing conversations with LGBT community organizations via Grindr For Equality, a holistic program at Grindr that works to promote justice, health, safety, and more for LGBTQ individuals around the globe."

Grindr publicist Jeff Koo told SFGN that the company would not comment further on the subject.

Haines said that he takes issue with Grindr's claim that they take action regarding offensive responses.

"Reporting the incident to Grindr, unfortunately, didn't result in much action," Haines told SFGN. "I received a standard legal response from their legal team. I believe at the time that I had begun to advocate that the platform being to implement mechanism to protect its users from harassment and support the process of resolving issues of identity verification. I still believe these networks should be tasked with identity verification as valuable resource to resolving any crimes committed through these platforms."

"I never set out to say anything bad about Grindr," Rivel said. "But Grindr is influential and needs to do better. We're the underdog and we're trying to do better."

Jack'd, according to Rivel, has 1.2 million members, with 450,000 daily active users – 30 percent are Black, 25 percent are Asian, 25 percent are Latino/mix/other. "We're the most diverse dating app, and also the youngest," he said. "80 percent of our members are under 26."

Rivel added that Jack'd has suspended or deleted accounts for hate speech. "In terms of how many, it really varies depending on how many users report such activity to customer service," he explained. "Overall we do see a very low occurrence of this type of behavior on Jack'd."

Rivel declined to reveal the nature of the language Jack'd might have seen. "We will not reiterate hate speech or anything negative that a user has said or negatively been subjected to by another user on the app," he said. "It is very uncommon for us to get reports of hate speech or racism occurrences on Jack'd as our user base knows that we do not tolerate it and that this platform is safe for everyone regardless of who they are or where they come from." 


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