It’s not every day that the president of the world’s most popular gay dating app is accused of making homophobic remarks.
But on Friday, Scott Chen, Grindr’s top boss, was forced to defend comments he made on a Facebook post last week, in which he said marriage was a “holy matrimony between a man and a woman.”
“The reason I said marriage is a holy matrimony between a man and a woman is based on my own personal experience,” Chen wrote in the comments section of an Into article that first picked up the story. “I am a straight man married to a woman I love and I have two beautiful daughters I love from the marriage. This is how I feel about my marriage.”
“I am a huge advocate for L.G.B.T.Q.+ rights since I was young,” he added. “I support gay marriage and I am proud that I can work for Grindr.”
The imbroglio started last week after Chen posted a lengthy message on Facebook — which was originally written in Chinese and translated to English — in response to the crushing defeat of a same-sex marriage referendum in Taiwan. In the post, Chen criticized Taiwanese consumer electronics HTC, which he perceived as anti-gay, vowing to never buy its products for “the rest of my life.”
But one line, in particular, seemed to stand out.
“Some people think that marriage is a holy matrimony between a man and a woman, I think so too, but that’s your own business,” he wrote.
The story was first reported by Into, a publication owned by Grindr and was later picked up by major news outlets. An article in LGBT magazine Out was headlined: “The President of Grindr Just Said He’s AGAINST Gay Marriage.” British site The Gay UK proclaimed: “If you need a reason to delete Grindr, this might be it.”
Chen responded in the comments section, saying the article was “unbalanced and misleading” and excoriated his own publication for not reaching out to him for a comment before publication. (Into insists it did reach out to Grindr for comment but did not get a response).
Zach Stafford, the editor of Into and Grindr’s chief content officer, did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment. But on Thursday he told The Guardian that Chen’s comments did not match the app’s core values: “Grindr’s goal as a company is to help seek the full equity of all LGBT people’s rights around the world, especially when it comes to dating and love. And marriage for many is an end goal to our app.”
Stafford, a former Guardian reporter, added that the publication stands by its reporting.
Here is Mr. Chen’s full post, translated from Chinese:
Some people think that marriage is a holy matrimony between a man and a woman, I think so too, but that’s your own business.
Some people think that the purpose of marriage is to bring up children with your own DNA, but that’s your own business.
But there are people who aren’t the same as you, and desperately hope that they can also get married; they have their own reasons for wanting that.
Getting married is personal. If you have money, can’t you donate to people suffering from poverty, hunger, war or natural disasters, those who are truly in need of it? Why do you spend so much money to prevent people in love from getting married? Aren’t there other important things in your life?
It’s true, I won’t buy HTC products for the rest of my life, and I won’t donate any money to Taiwan’s Christian groups ever again for the rest of my life!
Chen was tapped as Grindr’s chief technology officer in January after the company was sold to Kunlun Group, a Chinese gaming company. He became Grindr’s president in August.