Grindr is a popular phone app that is typically used for gay and bisexual men. Matthew Herrick may be one of the most popular men on that app, but not of his own volition.
Over the course of the past five months, over 1,100 men have showed up at Herrick’s home and job, all of which are looking to have sex with him.
Herrick is now at his wits end and is now suing Grindr for not protecting his identity from impersonation, stalking and harassment.
Herrick is at the center of a revenge scheme by a former romantic partner who is taking their revenge by posting fake accounts of Herrick since October 2016.
About 16 strangers a day show up either to his apartment or workplace looking for him, hoping to hook up.
Some of them are more persistent than others, as they were told that Herrick has a “rape fantasy” and they should not be dissuaded.
According to the complaint, Herrick, 32, is the victim of an elaborate revenge scheme that’s playing out on Grindr’s platform. An ex-boyfriend of Herrick’s, who he says he met on Grindr, has allegedly been creating fake accounts since October 2016. The accounts have Herrick’s photos and personal details, including some falsehoods like a claim that that he’s HIV positive.
The ex allegedly invites men to Herrick’s apartment and the restaurant where he works. Sometimes as many as 16 strangers each day will show up looking for Herrick. In some instances, they are told not to be dissuaded if Herrick is resistant at first, “as part of an agreed upon rape fantasy or role play.” The case raises important questions in the social media age about impersonation, stalking and harassment. “What are Grindr’s legal responsibilities,” asks Aaron Mackey, a Frank Stanton legal fellow at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “And what are its corporate and ethical responsibilities to its users when it learns that its platform is being abused in this way?” Mackey said the answers have big implications.