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Sean Rad, chief executive officer of Tinder Inc., speaks during the Rise conference in Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, July 11, 2018. The conference runs through July 12.
A group of founders, current executives and early employees of Tinder filed suit Tuesday against that dating app’s owner IAC and its subsidiary Match Group asking for billions of dollars of damages on claims that IAC and Match “robbed Tinder employees by manipulating financial information, undermining Tinder’s valuation and unlawfully stripping away their Tinder stock options.”
Plaintiffs in the case filed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan include Tinder’s founders Sean Rad, Justin Mateen and Jonathan Badeen, as well as three currrent senior executives.
The complaint says the corporate defendants designated Greg Blatt, Match’s chairman and CEO, as interim CEO of Tinder in December 2016 to allow them to “control the valuation of Tinder” as stock options for Tinder employees were set to be value.”
The suit called Blatt “a longtime lackey of IAC’s controlling shareholder Barry Diller,” who “had a well-earned reputation as a notorious bully with a volcanic temper and a habit of threatening to fire employees who contradicted him.”
The suit also accuses Blatt is groping and sexually harassing Tinder’s vice president of marketing and communications, Rosette Pambakian, at Tinder’s 2016 holiday party in Los Angeles. Pambakian is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
“Because a credible investigation — let alone a firing in public view — would have derailed their scheme, Defendants whitewashed Blatt’s misconduct,” the suit alleges. “But just two weeks after their scheme concluded, Defendants publicly announced Blatt’s ‘retirement’ — rewarding him with a lucrative golden parachute and a glowing farewell message from Diller praising Blatt’s ‘integrity,’ ” the complaint says.