Munroe Bergdorf Calls On Grindr to Crack Down on Racist & Transphobic Users

Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Teen Vogue
Munroe Bergdorf attends Teen Vogue Summit 2018: #TurnUp - Day 1 at The New School on June 1, 2018 in New York City. 

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.)