Updated: August 14, 2022
The dating app Bumble is widely considered a sort of women-friendly alternative when it comes to most hellish dating apps, famously letting women make the first interaction. That the company’s founder is Whitney Wolfe Herd, who left Tinder and sued them for sexual harassment upon, also gives Bumble a sheen of empowerment. But Bumble’s partner is Andrey Andreev, a Russian billionaire and dating app mogul who also runs the app Badoo, and owns between 59% to 79% of the company. According to a new report from Forbes, Andreev and Badoo have a history of sleazy workplace misconduct, a reality that negates the women-friendly appearance of Bumble.
The Forbes report lays out a history of misconduct at Andreev’s dating app Badoo, including a history of wild parties filled with naked staff members and lines of coke (which Andreev denies being aware of) and naming software updates after porn stars. A former chief marketing officer says that she was “told to act pretty for investors and make job candidates ‘horny’ to work for Badoo” and that if you disagreed with Andreev you were “called a ‘cyka’ (bitch in Russian).”
Another former employee, Badoo’s communications and public relations manager, says that female employees were expected to “play the game” to get ahead in the company and that part of that game meant watching a video an employee receiving oral sex from a sex worker. At one point Andreev reportedly rejected a job candidate for being fat. “Can you imagine her speaking to the press and being the face of Badoo?” he allegedly said.
Andreev was also allegedly racist when it came to Badoo’s employees and users, reportedly upset that the app had garnered a Latino audience in America. “If someone were to arrive a little bit late to the office and they were Latino or African, he would make comments like, ‘Well, what can you expect,’ as if people who were not white were not hardworking,” an executive told Forbes.
“I am saddened and sickened to hear that anyone, of any gender, would ever be made to feel marginalized or mistreated in any capacity at their workplace,” Wolfe Herd told Techcrunch in response to the article, adding that Badoo “is currently conducting an investigation into the allegations, as well as compiling documentation to expose the factual inaccuracies that exist within the article.”
Correction: A previous version of this post referred to Andreev as Bumble’s co-founder. He is the majority owner of the company and an active partner.