N.Y. actor sues Grindr after 1,100 men seek him out in 'rape fantasy'
The "Grindr" app logo is seen amongst other dating apps on a mobile phone screen on Nov. 24, 2016 in London, England. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)
A New York City man has launched a lawsuit against Grindr after fake accounts on the gay hook-up app allegedly lured 1,100 strangers to his home and work, looking for sex, according to reports.
Matthew Herrick said in a complaint that over the past five months up to 16 men have been seeking him out and "aggressively demanding sex," The New York Daily News reports.
The 32-year-old actor accused an ex-boyfriend of his, whom he also met on the dating app, started making fake profiles with Herrick's pictures back in October of last year, CNN reports. These accounts have pictures of Herrick and his personal information. Some of the accounts also falsely claim Herrick is HIV-positive, the complaint states.
I wear shirts. Sorta. 📸: @larrybpnyc pic.twitter.com/rmYl4xx08b— Matthew Herrick (@MatthewSHerrick) January 12, 2017
The ex-boyfriend allegedly uses the profiles to invite prospective suitors over to Herrick's apartment and the restaurant where he works for sex. Herrick also alleged in the complaint, the men are told to continue their advances if he says no because it's "part of an agreed upon rape fantasy or role play," CNN reports.
“They were setting him up to be sexually assaulted,” Herrick’s attorney Carrie Goldberg said in a Wired interview back in January. “It’s just luck that it hasn’t happened yet.”
"My entire life has been stolen from me," Herrick told Wired. "My privacy has been taken from me. I’m humiliated daily. It’s a living hell."
The unnamed ex-boyfriend has denied the allegations to CNN.
In an amended complaint filed March 31, Goldberg and her colleague Tor Ekeland accuse Grindr of liability, fraud and deceptive business practices, CNN reports. Goldberg says Grindr has created a "dangerous product" like an exploding battery and is also pushing Apple and Google to remove it from their app stores.
"If the manufacturer and seller both know the battery could explode, there's a duty to inform users of the risk," she told CNN. "Not to mention a duty to evaluate whether the product is so dangerous it should be removed from the market altogether."
Grindr responded to CNN with a statement.
"(Grinder is) committed to creating a safe environment through a system of digital and human screening tools, while also encouraging users to report suspicious and threatening activities," the company told CNN. "While we are constantly improving upon this process, it is important to remember that Grindr is an open platform. Grindr co-operates with law enforcement on a regular basis and does not condone abusive or violent behaviour."
The originally lawsuit was filed in a New York state court back in January but, upon Grindr's request, it was moved to a U.S. federal court in February.