Grindr’s new owners are coming to light, but some are not happy about what they’ve learned.
For the past few years, the ownership of Grindr has been like a game of hot potato. Back in 2017, Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech announced its plans to buy all the stakes in Grindr. This eventually led to its gay founder and CEO Joel Simkhai leaving the company. From there, the Chinese company’s ownership of Grindr has been in contention for several years. The American government repeatedly interfered due to concerns that China was collecting data and information about American citizens through an American-based company. This eventually led to the U.S. forcing Beijing Kunlun Tech to sell Grindr despite plans to take the stock public.
Now that the dust has settled, Grindr users and reporters are starting to hone in on the new company owners. And specifically, there’s some question over whether it’s ok that the group of owners are all straight men.
Grindr’s new CEO, COO, and CFO are Jeff Bonforte, Rick Marini, and Gary Hsueh, respectively. The group had previously tried to buy the company, but were unsuccessful. But when Beijing Kunlun Tech was ousted, Bonforte and co. saw an opportunity and seized it. For context, this isn’t the first business venture the men have made. Together, they have owned and/or run Yahoo!, Flickr, Hearst Corporation, and more.
But possibly the biggest hurdle they’ve had to deal with in the acquiring of Grindr is ridicule that they are all straight. This brought back memories of former CEO Scott Chen, who got into controversy for saying in 2018 that “holy matrimony is between a man and woman.” In response to critiques, the group has expressed their interest in supporting the LGBTQ community.
“I don’t think you have to be gay to want to have a strong, healthy, safe LGBTQ community,” Bonforte told The Advocate. “And so I think we see Grindr’s role in that, and we hope we can further it.”
Marini then added, “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. It’s got to work for everyone. Love is love. So we’re going to be working on that for sure.”
Will Bonforte, Marini, and Hsueh pull through with their promises? And will gay/bi/trans men continue to use the app after this ownership shift? Does it ultimately matter that Grindr is owned by straight men? We’ll see how the company’s business thrives or dies in the next few months.
Source: The Advocate