Oh Grindr, Grindr, Grindr (the gay men’s dating ap). You say you condemn racism but you seem to do nothing about it.
People have been calling out Grindr racism for ages. It’s everywhere, its seen as banal, it’s vile.
For the last couple of months I’ve been one of the people who call it out (see my profile pic below). It was a very easy thing to write on my profile. In fact it was a great use of the profile text that I struggled to use anyway (“hey I’m a normal guy, date me!”), it filtered out the racist guys from my dating pool and it subdued my little clicktivist heart.
As well as calling it out, I also invited people to screenshot my twitter account @grindrracism with any racist messages or profile (e.g., below) they came across. I would then retweet it and tag Grindr hoping for them to ban the profile. Grindr never did respond and nor have they responded when my friends have reported racism.
One day one particularly vile Grindr guy sent me a bucketload of vileness (see image below).
I didnt respond. I just reported him using Grindr’s own report system. And because you never hear whether the user has been banned or not on this system, I also tweeted his headless profile pic and message to Grindr.
The next time I logged on I got banned. No explanation given. I quickly emailed Grindr asking why and 3 weeks later finally got this response:
As per our guidelines your profile must not encourage hate towards another member of the Grindr community.
Linking to a twitter account that encourages sharing of racial comments is also against our rules. These are the main reasons your profile ban will remain in place.
I emailed back today:
I’m sorry if I haven’t made myself clear. I’m trying to highlight the racism of grindr users. I encourage screenshots of racist messages often tagging in @grindr in order to encourage banning the user and to raise awareness of the bigotry on grindr so that these attitudes can be challenged. The defensiveness when I or friends challenge racism is unbelievable. Seeing the extremity and prevalence of racism in one place can help people realise it is a problem.
This is a common tactic of liberation issues and is similar to everyday sexism and other sites that share forms of microaggressions or discrimination.
The account now includes a trigger warning in it’s bio and is called @grindrracism. Only people searching for racism would see the tweets (and if you identify something as racist as opposed to “racial”).
I’m also concerned that users that have been explicitly racist don’t seem to have been banned or reprimanded. The attached image shows one who went out of his way to message me (I’m White btw). I never replied to him but he bragged the day after he sent me this saying grindr wouldn’t do anything. Would you be able to reinstate my profile please?
To which Grindr replied.
Thanks for clarifying this, further to your recent email we do not condone the screen capture of profiles and uploading them to alternative sites like twitter. Your Grindr profile actively encourages this.
We have our own in app flagging/reporting measures in which you can highlight a profile to our moderation team.
There have been a number of complaints against your profile. I will not be removing this ban and your profile will remain offline.
I sent another reply asking how might someone might call out racism that would be acceptable to Grindr and whether I could see the “complaints”. All Grindr said was no I couldn’t and that my ban would remain.
So longer story shorter- it doesn’t look good for my dating life or, more importantly, Grindr actually doing anything about racism.
Grindr’s founder, Joel Simkhai, is Jewish and in an interview has says he can’t solve racism. Maybe, maybe not. But he can stop his app from banning people who call it out, can’t he?