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Grindr finally drops its much-reviled ethnicity filter in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Josh Milton June 2, 2020
Two Dallas men charged for attacking and robbing men through Grindr

Grindr. (Leon Neal/Getty)

Grindr responded to yearslong accusations of racism levelled at the dating app popular among queer folk for its premium “ethnicity feature” by removing it altogether.

For years, tucked alongside the ability to search for users by “tribe” (such as twink or otter) or by height and weight, users paying any of Grindr XTRA’s subscription plans could filter by ethnicity.

Packages ranged from £15.99 per month to £31.99 per month for Grindr UNLIMITED.

The feature has long been a lightning rod for criticism from queer folk of colour, with people’s encounters with “no Blacks, no fats, no femmes”-type users being long, well, unlimited.

After weathering criticism for years, the company announced on Monday night (June 1) amid a Twitter firestorm that it will “remove the ethnicity” from the app’s next release, as well as make donations to Black organisations.

But many Twitter users questioned why the filter was a feature in the first place.

Grindr has, in the past, attempted to tamper backlash for its ethnicity filter and the racism reported by queer users of colour on the app with campaigns such as Kindr, which aimed to stamp out sexual racism and discrimination on the platform.

Despite these accounts, Grindr only rejiggered the filter feature after a wave of unrest seeded by the death of a Black man pinned by his neck by the knee of a white police officer.

Hundreds of users hound queer dating app to remove ethnicity filter amid Black Lives Matter protests.

“Racism has no place in our community,” a spokesperson told PinkNews.

“To help do our part, we have decided to remove the ethnicity filter from the Grindr app. Once the filter is removed, users will no longer be able to filter profiles by ethnicity.

“We thank all of those that have provided feedback. We listened and we will continue to fight racism on Grindr, both through dialogue with our community and a zero-tolerance policy for hate speech on our platform.”

When Grindr’s Twitter account offered a pledge of solidarity to the Black Lives Matter movement as riots roil the world on May 29, it set off an avalanche of accusations of hypocrisy, being that its ethnicity filter, they said, allows racist users to field out non-whites.

US cities and many others across the world for days have been gripped by scenes of milk-drenched protesters and lines of officers and cruisers cutting into major thoroughfares –Grindr tweeted out a message of support to rioters.

“DEMAND JUSTICE,” it said in the since-deleted tweet, “#BlackLivesMatter.”

Chants of “remove your ethnicity filter” then immediately echoed across Twitter, as countless users cowed the app to remove it while many other users were perplexed that Grindr even had the filter “in 2020”.

Grindr removes tinderbox ethnicity filter after app is tangled in Twitter firestorm. 

Criticism of the company continued until Monday, when the tweet was removed from Grindr’s timeline and they issued a new statement.

The app doubled down on its pledge to “stand in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the hundreds of queer people of colour who log in to our app every day”.

“We will not be silent, and we will not be inactive. Today, we are making donations to the Marsha P Johnson Institute and Black Lives Matter and urge you to do the same if you can.”

Grindr stressed that through feedback from users and in reignited accordance with its community guidelines, it will now remove the option to filter by ethnicity in its next update. No date was provided when.

Many praised the app for stepping-up and removing the long-criticised function, but applause soon translated to further anger at why the app had this filter to begin with.

More: black lives matter, dating, Grindr, racism

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