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Grindr’s new straight CEO wants the hook-up app to be a ‘positive place for everyone – not just good-looking people’

Patrick Kelleher June 17, 2020
An iPhone with a Grindr splash screen

Grindr (Getty)

The new straight chief operating officer (COO) of Grindr has said he wants the platform to be “a positive place for everyone, not just the good-looking people”.

Rick Marini is one of three men who recently purchased a 98.59 per cent stake in the gay dating app from the Chinese tech company that acquired it in 2016.

Marini and the organisation’s new CEO Jeff Bonforte spoke to The Advocate about body-shaming on Grindr, and said they want to ensure users have a “positive experience”.

The new owners of Grindr want their users to have a ‘positive experience’ free from body-shaming.

Bonforte said that body shaming is not unique to Grindr, and said it is partly down to “human nature”.

“It’s not specific to Grindr, and it’s not specific to digital, but it can be amplified in those [spaces],” he said.

I really want this to be a positive place for everyone, not just the good-looking people that already have an easy enough time in society.

“And to the extent that it’s happening on Grindr, we [are] trying to make sure that our users are having a positive experience,” he added.

The pair said they want to find new ways to encourage users of the dating app to show more empathy to each other.

“I really want this to be a positive place for everyone, not just the good-looking people that already have an easy enough time in society,” Marini said.

“It’s got to work for everyone. Love is love. So we’re going to be working on that for sure.”

The straight men intend to hire more LGBT+ people.

Elsewhere in the interview, the two men said they are both straight, but identify as allies to the LGBT+ community.

“I don’t think you have to be gay to want to have a strong, healthy, safe LGBT+ community,” Bonforte said.

“And so I think we see Grindr’s role in that, and we hope we can further it.”

However, they noted that they intend to recruit more LGBT+ staff as employees, leaders and board members so they can ensure they are adequately representing the community.

Marini said that having LGBT+ people in the room is essential for “understanding the needs of the users”.

“We want to hire missionaries, not mercenaries,” Bonforte said.

“We don’t want people that are here for the money. We want people here for the cause.”

More: body-shaming, dating, Grindr, hook up, Jeff Bonforte, Rick Marini

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