Grindr said it will remove the racial and ethnic filter from its popular gay dating and social-networking app, citing user feedback and a commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement.
“We will not be silent, and we will not be inactive,” the company said in posts on social media Monday. “We will continue to fight racism on Grindr, both through dialogue with our community and a zero-tolerance policy for racism and hate speech on our platform. As part of this commitment, and based on your feedback, we have decided to remove the ethnicity filter from our next release.”
Grindr’s response came after several days of violent protests across the U.S., sparked by the murder of George Floyd, who died May 25 while in the custody of Minneapolis police.
Currently, the Grindr app allows paying users to set preferences for “ethnicity,” among other criteria specifying the kinds of people they want to connect with.
On Monday, Grindr said it is making donations to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute and Black Lives Matter, and it urged others “to do the same if you can.”
In a post on Instagram, Grindr said it was planning to announce its #PridePerseveres initiative today, “but in light of the ongoing violence and injustices against our POC family, that no longer feels appropriate. How can we launch a month of celebration when so many of us are hurting? How can we celebrate Pride without acknowledging that we wouldn’t even HAVE a Pride month if it weren’t for the brave black, brown, trans, and queer folks whose uprising against the police at Stonewall gave birth to the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement?”
The company added: “It is our responsibility to speak out against the hate and violence that such a vital part of our community continue to face.”
Grindr said it will announce its plans to celebrate Pride Month on Tuesday, “but in a different light. Yes, we can still come together in the spirit of Pride, but Pride this year has an added responsibility, a shifted tone, and a new priority that will be reflected in our programming — support and solidarity for queer people of color and the #BlackLivesMatter movement.”
In March, Beijing Kunlun Tech Co., a Chinese gaming company, announced that it was selling Grindr — in which it had first acquired majority stake in 2016 — for $608.5 million — a move prompted by the U.S. government’s concerns about the privacy of the app’s users. Grindr’s new owner is San Vicente Acquisition, a group of entrepreneurs and investors in tech, media and telecommunications sectors, Reuters reported.
Grindr, first launched in 2009, says it is today “the largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people.” The app uses geolocation features of mobile devices to let users connect with others in their area, similar to Tinder.