Munroe Bergdorf Calls On Grindr to Crack Down on Racist & Transphobic Users
The queer-centric dating app Grindr has been the cause of much speculation throughout 2018. Earlier this year, it was revealed in an article by Buzzfeed that the social media application was sharing the HIV statuses of its users with two outside companies tasked with optimizing the app.
Now, British activist and model Munroe Bergdorf is calling on the company to address hate speech used by some of its users to put down other users who are predominantly black and transgender. “Grindr has the resources and potential to become something positive and inclusive for the LGBTQ community in the future,” she wrote in a recent Instagram post. “I just hope they make the necessary changes to do so.”
Bergdorf has spent the last week sharing screenshots on Twitter of conversations from her fans using Grindr, showing varying levels of abusive and threatening speech used against them. “R u white,” one such message read. “No cotton pickers.”
Bergdorf called on the app to put measures in place that will prevent black and trans people from being subjected to this kind of verbal abuse, either through banning hateful users or blocking offensive messages from being seen. “I'm not letting this one go and I have many, many more examples of unchallenged abuse experienced on your platform,” she wrote on Twitter.
In a post on Instagram, the 30-year-old activist updated her fans by revealing that she would be meeting with Grindr’s head of communications, Landen Zumwalt, and chief content officer, Zach Stafford, next week to discuss the app’s future efforts in protecting QTPOC people. Bergdorf also took the opportunity to be clear about what happens when racism and transphobia go unchecked.
“Racism, transphobia and anti-blackness within the LGBTQ community is a mssive worldwide problem that all white people, all cisgender people, as well as all LGBTQ corporations have a responsibility to help stamp out,” she wrote. “Because if you’re not doing anything to deconstruct systemic, institutionalized or casual racism, whilst also benefiting from such systems, then you are part of the problem.”
Read Munroe Bergdorf’s full statement from Instagram, as well as some of her tweets sharing hateful messages sent to fans on Grindr below (Warning: Some of the following tweets are extremely upsetting.)
Thank you to everyone who trusted me with your experiences of abuse. Grindr has the resources and potential to become something positive and inclusive for the LGBTQ community in the future. I just hope they make the necessary changes to do so. I'm looking forward to discussing this at length with them next week. Well done to everyone who tagged them in the comments, community strength! ----
These images were sent to me by one of my Instagram followers, who has asked to remain anonymous. Racism within the LGBTQ community continues to be a massive issue, especially when it comes to online dating apps. pic.twitter.com/fIC2iWhyCU— Munroe Bergdorf ---- (@MunroeBergdorf) July 24, 2018
More abuse sent in from another follower. This was reported to both @Grindr and the police, both whom failed to do anything. @Grindr you have a responsibility to your black and brown users to protect them against this kind of violence. pic.twitter.com/LrxoQUjNlu— Munroe Bergdorf ---- (@MunroeBergdorf) July 24, 2018
.@GRINDR - You provide a platform which allows racism and transphobia to thrive, you also don't have the adequate procedures in place to deal with such abuse or protect POC and trans users. pic.twitter.com/n4ahH9TMj2— Munroe Bergdorf ---- (@MunroeBergdorf) July 25, 2018
.@GRINDR - How will you update your policies to protect queer and trans people of colour? (I'm not letting this one go and I have many, many more examples of unchallenged abuse experienced on your platform. pic.twitter.com/PfTlybDjkn— Munroe Bergdorf ---- (@MunroeBergdorf) July 25, 2018