A senior Grindr employee has resigned and spoken out against recent comments made by the dating app’s president that appeared to oppose marriage equality.
“I am writing today with great sadness to inform you that I will no longer be serving as Grindr’s head of communications,” wrote Landon Rafe Zumwalt on Medium.com.
“As an out and proud gay man madly in love with a man I don’t deserve, I refused to compromise my own values or professional integrity to defend a statement that goes against everything I am and everything I believe,” he said. “While that resulted in my time at Grindr being cut short, I have absolutely no regrets.”
The company’s president, Scott Chen, came under fire late last month over comments posted on his Facebook page in connection with the recent contentious referenda that were held in Taiwan on legalising same-sex marriage.
According to a translation by INTO, he said: “There are people who believe that marriage is a holy matrimony between a man and a woman. I agree but that’s none of our business. There are also people who believe that the purpose of marriage is to create children that carry their DNA. That’s also none of our business. There are people that are simply different from you, who desperately want to get married. They have their own reasons.”
The remarks were seen by many as opposing same-sex marriage rights. Chen, however, responded to these reports by insisting that the comments had been completely misunderstood.
“On November 26, I wrote a post on my personal Facebook account meant to condemn those advocating against same-sex marriage in Taiwan,” Chen stated. “The words I chose related to marriage between a man and a woman were meant to express my personal feelings about my own marriage to my wife — not to suggest that I am opposed to marriage equality.”
He added, “I am an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and have been since I was young. I support gay marriage and I am proud that I can work for Grindr. I apologize that my words did not clearly convey these feelings.”
This did not convince Zumwalt, who still decided to step down despite the explanation. “For those who remain [at the company], those who will continue to fight for our community from within, know I will be cheering you on from the sidelines,” he said. “Persist. Make your voices heard. And never compromise who you are for someone else.”
Grindr is the largest and most popular gay mobile dating app in the world and is currently available in 192 countries. It was launched in the US in 2009 and acquired by Chinese gaming company Kunlun in 2017.