Bumble Owner Andrey Andreev Accused of Promoting a Toxic, Sexist Work Environment
Sex, drugs and toxic masculinity inside the corporate dating app world
One of the leading names in dating apps, Bumble has long distinguished itself as a feminist alternative to other popular swiping apps like Tinder. Launched in 2014, the app’s signature concept of only allowing female users to initiate conversations built Bumble’s reputation as a safe space for female swipers driven by a progressive, woman-centric (if somewhat heteronormative) model. Now, Bumble’s feminist image has been shaken by allegations of toxic, sexist working conditions at a company headed by one of the app’s co-founders.
An explosive Forbes report Monday described a drug-fueled, misogynistic working environment at Badoo, a European- and Latin American-focused dating app founded by Bumble owner Andrey Andreev. The report by Angel Au-Yeung features interviews with 13 former Badoo employees who described a company culture of open drug use, wild partying and sexual misconduct.
“Everyone was naked and doing lines of coke,” one former employee recalled of company parties, adding that photos and videos from the events were regularly shared via the company’s internal email system. The employees also described internal software updates named after porn stars and a widely circulated video of a male employee receiving oral sex from a prostitute.
The former employees also detailed an overtly misogynistic environment in which “female employees were routinely discussed in terms of their appearance,” and a former chief marketing officer was “told to act pretty for investors and make job candidates ‘horny’ to work for Badoo.”
While Badoo initially denied the allegations, criticizing Forbes’ “reckless reporting,” Andreev has since released a statement to Business Insider saying he has was “shocked and saddened” by the allegations and extending an apology “to any Badoo employee who felt disrespected or was made to feel uncomfortable in any way.”
Meanwhile, Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd, who co-founded the app with Andreev in 2014 after suing former employer Tinder in what Au-Yeung called “one of the greatest feats of corporate revenge,” has also responded to the report, telling TechCrunch she was “saddened and sickened” by the allegations.
While Wolfe Herd noted that her own experiences at Badoo did not reflect the toxic climate described in the report, she extended her sympathy to Badoo employees: “As a woman who has been through dark times, please know that I am deeply sorry for anything that could have taken place that made anyone feel uncomfortable before my time building Bumble.”
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