A New York City resident is fighting the creators of Grindr, a widely used app for gay and bisexual men, after saying 1,100 suitors have visited his residence and the restaurant where he works looking for sexual encounters.
Over the last five months, as many as 16 individuals a day have been coming and “aggressively demanding sex” from Matthew Herrick, a complaint filed on Wednesday by the West Harlem man’s lawyers stated, according to the New York Daily News.
An ex-boyfriend was reportedly responsible for making the fake accounts.
“My entire life has been stolen. My privacy has been taken. I’m humiliated,” Herrick stated in an interview with Wired magazine. “It’s a living hell.”
Besides distributing pictures and information about Herrick, some profiles reportedly stated that he is HIV positive, and that interested men should keep trying if he’s hesitant because it’s “part of an agreed upon rape fantasy role play.”
Taking over BK in my rondorff DISCIPLINE tee. 📸: balance2089 pic.twitter.com/zdg9euuzob
— Matthew Herrick (@MatthewSHerrick) September 18, 2016
Herrick and his attorneys say that Grindr should accept some of the blame for providing a “dangerous product” to its users, and even compared the app to a car battery.
“If the manufacturer and seller know the battery could explode, there’s duty to inform users of the risk,” Attorney Carrie Goldberg said to CNN.
Goldberg and Tor Ekeland are representing the part-time actor and model as they assert that Grindr is responsible for product liability, fraud, and deceptive business methods.
“Grindr does not use standard, widely available software programs routinely used by providers to control their sites and products and to facilitate safety and security of their users and the public,” the complaint states.
Daniel Waxman of Bryan Cave LLP sought permission on Friday to file a 30-page memorandum in support of Grindr’s appeal to dismiss the complaint.
Besides asserting that Grindr “cooperates with law enforcement” and features a “system of digital and human screening tools,” a statement from the company said, “While we are improving upon this process, it is important to remember that Grindr is an open platform.”
Herrick’s complaint alleges that over 100 reports were filed informing Grindr of the false profiles yet the only reply received was a boilerplate message that said: “Thank you for your report.”
“They were setting him up to be assaulted,” Goldberg said. “It’s luck that it hasn’t happened yet.”