Last Wednesday, New York native, #MatthewHerrick, filed a lawsuit against the creators of the popular dating app for gay and bisexual men, #Grindr, accusing them of product liability, fraud, and deceptive business practices.
In the complaint, Herrick explains that he’s been approached by several people over the last five months, harassing him for sexual encounters. He says about 1,100 individuals, nearly 16 people a day, have shown up at his home and place of employment “aggressively demanding sex,” due to the false information that has been created on the app. According to Herrick, his ex-boyfriend created fake profiles in his name with this false information. He says the fake profiles use his name and likeness to lure in potential suitors. Some profiles reportedly claim he has STD’s, including HIV. In addition, the profiles claim Herrick is into “agreed upon rape fantasy or role play,” which encourages people to force themselves on him.
“My entire life has been stolen from me. My privacy has been taken from me. I’m humiliated daily,” Herrick revealed in an interview with Wired Magazine. “It’s a living hell.”
Although Herrick’s issue is with his ex-boyfriend, he believes Grindr is also at fault for their “dangerous product.” He says that he’s complained to Grindr 50 times since October, to no avail.
“If the manufacturer and seller both know the battery could explode, there’s a duty to inform users of the risk,” Herrick’s attorney tells CNN. “Not to mention a duty to evaluate whether the product is so dangerous it should be removed from the market altogether.”
“Grindr does not use even standard, widely available software programs…routinely used by interactive service providers to control their sites and products and to facilitate the safety and security of their users and the public,” Herrick’s complaint read, adding that even after over 100 reports filed about the fake profiles, the only response Herrick received read, “Thank you for your support.”
On the other hand, the company maintained that their app “cooperates with the law” and uses a “system of digital and human screening tools.”
“While we are constantly improving upon this process, it is important to remember that Grindr is an open platform,” the company reiterated.
What are your thoughts?