The former vice president of marketing and communications for Tinder has filed suit against the company’s former CEO and the site’s owners over an alleged sexual assault.
Rosette Pambakian alleges Gregory Blatt made unwanted sexual comments toward her at a company party in December 2016 and groped her breasts and upper thighs without consent in front of other coworkers. She further accuses the company of firing her when she reported the incident.
Pambakian is also part of a separate lawsuit that accuses Blatt and Tinder parent companies Match and IAC of undervaluing Tinder to avoid paying money owed to employees.
Blatt left Tinder and IAC in 2017. He could not be reached for comment.
In her suit, Pambakian accused Tinder of promoting “a misogynistic culture where female employees were marginalized and sexually harassed on a regular basis.” Match has denied the charges, saying it investigated Pambakian’s accusations when they were reported in April 2017, utilizing outside counsel, and finding no evidence of the incident she alleges.
“When Sean Rad brought the subject up nearly five months later, right after the valuation process commenced, it was immediately and thoroughly investigated by the Board, independently without any involvement from Greg, which concluded that no sexual harassment occurred,” wrote current Match CEO Mandy Ginsberg in a note to Pambakian months ago. “I was not the CEO at the time, but I know that you were interviewed on at least two separate occasions and you never alleged sexual harassment. … We do not retaliate against anyone who reports sexual harassment. Your position was never at risk due to any sexual harassment complaints.”
Pambakian, though, in her complaint, says Blatt approached her at the company party, making comments of a sexual nature and telling her “let’s get out of here.” She further alleges Blatt entered an employee’s hotel room and “immediately went straight for [Pambakian].”
According to the complaint, Pambakian was sitting on a bed and accuses Blatt of pulling her backwards so that she was lying beside him and “began forcibly groping [her] breasts and upper thighs, and kissing her shoulders, neck and chest — all without [her] consent”.
The company’s human resources department, she says, attempted to cover up the incident, asking Pambakian to sign a non-disclosure agreement “in exchange for increased compensation.” (Ginsberg denied this in her letter to Pambakian.)
The assault Pambakian describes has been hinted at before in the suit filed last August. She was not named at the time as the victim, however.
“Because a credible investigation — let alone a firing in public view — would have derailed their scheme, Defendants whitewashed Blatt’s misconduct,” that lawsuit alleged. “But just two weeks after their scheme concluded, Defendants publicly announced Blatt’s ‘retirement’ — rewarding him with a lucrative golden parachute and a glowing farewell message from Diller praising Blatt’s ‘integrity.’”
It’s not the first time Tinder has found itself on the defensive from these sorts of charges. In 2014, another former VP of marketing sued the company for sexual discrimination, saying her former boss called her a “whore” at a company event.
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