Location-based dating app Grindr has announced it’s ditching its ‘ethnicity filter’ when it next updates.
In a statement posted yesterday to its social media, the company said: “We will not be silent. Black lives matter.
“We were planning to announce our #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? It is our responsibility to speak out against the hate and violence that such a vital part of our community continue to face.
“We stand in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the hundreds of thousands of queer people of color who log in to our app every day.”
It went on to say it was making donations to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute and Black Lives Matter.
“We will continue to fight racism on Grindr,” it continued, “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.”
Users of Grindr can filter which other users are displayed on screen by such factors as ‘age’ and ‘Tribe’ (‘Bear’, ‘Clean-cut’, ‘Jock’, ‘Poz’, etc).
Those who pay for premium ‘Xtra’ membership can filter the other users displayed by further factors. These include who’s currently online, relationship status, and attributes like weight, height, body type, and, more controversially, by ethnicity.
Grindr has long been criticized for not doing enough to combat racism on the app. In late 2018, it launched its #KindrGrindr campaign, to encourage users to stop making statements such as “no blacks and no Asians” on their profiles.
However, many users remained unhappy that it continued to offer an ethnicity filter, allowing users to filter out ethnic groups of their choice.
Last week, protests and riots began to kick off in the US following the death on May 25 of an African American man, George Floyd, 46, at the hands of Minneapolis police.
The encounter, in which a white cop knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, was captured on video, prompting widespread fury and condemnation. The cop has since been arrested and charged with murder, but protests over police brutality in systemic racism have continued.
Grindr was launched in 2009 by US-based tech entrepreneur Joel Simkhai. He sold a majority share in the company to Chinese Gaming Company Beijing Kunlun Tech in 2016 (followed by the remaining shares in 2018).
Last year, the US Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), following concerns over the data of US citizens being in the hands of a Chinese company, informed Kunlun Tech that it had to sell the company back into US ownership. In March, Kunlun Tech announced it was selling it 98.5% shares in Grindr to US-based San Vicente Acquisition LLC for $608.5 million.