‘Unbearable’

Shocking sexual assault allegations against former CEO of Tinder emerge in billion-dollar lawsuit

Former Tinder CEO Greg Blatt, vice-chairmain of Match Group. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Former Tinder CEO Greg Blatt has been accused of groping and sexually harassing the company’s vice president of marketing and communications, allegations that 10 current and former Tinder executives say were buried by parent company IAC/InterActiveCorp as part of a scheme to lower the company’s valuation and cheat early employees out of billions of dollars in stock options. They filed a $2 billion lawsuit against the parent company this week. According to the suit, Blatt sexually harassed marketing executive Rosette Pambakian at a company party celebrating his promotion to CEO in 2016, at one point telling her, “I get hard every time I look at you.”

“In that moment, I thought, ‘My boss actually thinks I’m going home with him,'” she told CNN. “I basically bolted, found two people I knew and said, ‘Hey, let’s go up to your room.'”

But Pambakian said that Blatt trailed her and her friends to the hotel room, where he abruptly shoved her down onto the mattress, pushed himself on top of her, and began kissing and groping her. Blatt, she added, hadn’t even bothered to speak to her or anyone else in the room before commencing his sudden assault.

Tinder vice president of marketing and communication Rosette Pambakian. (Facebook)

“The self-loathing that followed was almost unbearable, and frankly, indescribable,” she recalled, noting that she kept quiet about the incident until she was approached by Tinder co-founder Sean Rad about it several months later. “I couldn’t understand why I was protecting a company that did not protect me when I needed it most.”

According to the suit, which was filed by Rad and other early Tinder employees, he spoke to IAC officials about the allegations but was told that Match’s board of directors, of which Blatt was chairman, “would run its own investigation.” IAC has said that the company did run an independent investigation that determined the incident was a “one-off consensual error in judgement,” despite Pambakian’s repeated statements claiming that Blatt’s actions were non-consensual and that she never spoke to any independent investigators.

The suit further alleges that the reason the investigation was squashed was so that Blatt could carry out a scheme to lower the company’s valuation, costing early Tinder employees billions of dollars in stock options. Blatt resigned as Tinder CEO in 2017 with a “golden parachute” that the lawsuit says was worth “hundreds of millions of dollars,” and still serves as vice chairman on the Match Group board of directors. Pambakian, meanwhile, has continued in her role as vice president of marketing and communications.

“Why should I be the one to leave my job that I love when I did nothing wrong?” she asked CNN. “Why is it that the men responsible for this type of behavior are allowed to quietly resign with a hefty severance package while no one is the wiser? Why are they being protected while I fear for my future and reputation for blowing the whistle?” Blatt did not respond to CNN’s request for a comment and in a statement given to Business Insider, IAC said, “the allegations in the complaint are meritless” and the company vowed “to vigorously defend against them.”

Read the full story at CNN and Business Insider.

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