TechCrunch has obtained an internal memo sent from Tinder CEO Sean Rad to employees in the wake of a new lawsuit waged against the company. The lawsuit focuses on the relationship between Whitney Wolfe and Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen, accusing him and the company of sexual harassment and sexism.
Former VP of Marketing Whitney Wolfe has alleged that Justin Mateen, her ex boyfriend, threatened and sexually harassed her after they broke up. She also claims that his behavior resulted in her being pushed out of the company, for which she also blames CEO Sean Rad, though the details of that have yet to be confirmed.
Mateen has since been suspended from the company.
Here’s Rad’s official email:
I know it’s been a difficult 24 hours for all of us…
I’ve learned a lot through this process and I wish I had done more in terms of managing what was clearly a complex situation. The communications between Justin and Whitney that have come to my attention through this process are just unacceptable. However, as many of you know, Whitney’s legal complaint is full of factual inaccuracies and omissions. We did not discriminate against Whitney because of her age or gender, and her complaint paints an inaccurate picture of my actions and what went on here. We take gender equality very seriously and none of this reflects the Tinder and culture that we have worked so hard to create.
I truly appreciate your dedication.
Founder & CEO, Tinder
Within the complaint, Wolfe claims that Rad not only witnessed Mateen’s inappropriate behavior with Wolfe, but that he neglected her requests for help. She also claims that once she had chosen to leave the company, Rad rejected her request to be paid generous severance and to let her keep her unvested stock.
The text messages sent from Mateen and cited as evidence in the case are pretty incriminating. It’s entirely possible that Justin’s behavior was a series of badly thought-out, emotional responses, but when you irresponsibly date a subordinate, there is no excuse for letting your own drama spill into a work environment.
Where accusations against Rad are concerned, things are less clear. It seems that the facts surrounding Wolfe’s position as a co-founder and her exit from the company are still being investigated here at TechCrunch. We’re still digging further into this to get clarity on Wolfe’s position as a co-founder, as well as the details of how she left the company.
In the meantime, please bear this in mind: where lawsuits are concerned, both sides of the story are rarely told at once. We’ve heard quite a bit from Wolfe, but Tinder and IAC haven’t had a chance to formally respond in court with their side of the story.