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A screenshot of the mobile app Tinder. / Tinder

SAN FRANCISCO - Popular mobile dating app Tinder is being sued for sexual harassment and discrimination by a former marketing executive.

Whitney Wolfe, Tinder's former marketing vice president, claims she was subjected to a pattern of abusive behavior including inappropriate private messages from a company co-founder while working at Tinder.

In the suit, she alleges Tinder co-founder and marketing chief Justin Mateen stripped Wolfe of her co-founder title, telling her that having a "24?year-old girl" as a co-founder made the company "seem like a joke."

Wolfe also alleges Mateen called her a "whore" in front of Chief Executive Officer Sean Rad. Mateen could not be reached for comment.

When she complained, Wolfe said she was forced out of the company. The case was filed on Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

"I had hoped this would be resolved confidentially, but after months of failed attempts, I have decided to pursue this suit," Wolfe said in a statement.

Tinder's parent companies, IAC and Match.com, are also named as defendants.

"Immediately upon receipt of the allegations contained in Ms. Wolfe's complaint, Mr. Mateen was suspended pending an ongoing internal investigation," IAC said in an emailed statement. "Through that process, it has become clear that Mr. Mateen sent private messages to Ms. Wolfe containing inappropriate content. We unequivocally condemn these messages, but believe that Ms. Wolfe's allegations with respect to Tinder and its management are unfounded."

The technology industry has come under fire for its lack of women in technical and executive ranks and for not creating a work environment that is more welcoming to women.

Ellen Pao, a former partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, filed a lawsuit against her former venture capital firm for harassment and discrimination in 2012. Kleiner Perkins has denied the allegations and is fighting the lawsuit.

Earlier this year, a female employee of GitHub accused the San Francisco startup, of harassment. The company investigated and said it found no evidence of harassment but that there had been "mistakes and errors of judgment."

Last month, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel got into hot water when explicit emails he sent while a student at Stanford University surfaced. Spiegel apologized for the emails which contained statements that were demeaning to women.



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: Dating app Tinder sued for sexual harassment

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