Online dating service eHarmony isn’t taking Chemisty.com’s advertorial attacks lying down. The company – which got its start under James Dobson’s Bible-thumping thumb – has hired famed lawyer Lanny J. Davis – who helped Clinton during that whole Lewisnky blow job brouhaha.
In an effort to save his client’s hide, Davis has asked NBC and People to stop running Chemistry.com’s adverts, which highlight eHarmony’s irrational, allegedly discriminatory practices.
As you may recall, one commercial features a man saying eHarmony rejected his application because he’s gay.
eHarmony alleges that Chemistry.com – which is owned by Barry Diller’s Match.com – and their commercials trivialize – even scandalize – eHarmony’s strict guidelines. Washington Post reports:
[eHarmony’s] concerned that its rival’s ads suggest that eHarmony is being arbitrary — or worse, racially and religiously discriminatory — in turning people away.
The biggest reason for rejection, it says, is that the applicant is married. Stunningly, nearly one-third of the company’s rejects (30 percent) fell into this category. Others are blocked because they’re younger than the minimum application age of 21 (27 percent) or because the applicant gives inconsistent answers (9 percent), based on responses to eHarmony’s 258-question application.
eHarmony big wig Greg Waldorf also claims that eHarmony does not discriminate against the gays. They just haven’t figured out how to work them into its romantic, marriage-inclinded web:
Waldorf says eHarmony’s matching system is based on psychological research about heterosexual relationships. Because it doesn’t have similar data on gay people, he says, the company isn’t confident that it can offer successful matches to same-sex couples. “I’m not saying anything precludes us from going into the same-sex market in the future,” he says, “but it’s not a service we offer now.”
Psychology being used to exclude gays? eHarmony sure is cutting edge.
For the record, People has refused to get involved in this lover’s spat.