By Lucas Matney
Update 4:30pm PT: “The responses are designed to obfuscate and deflect from the facts as borne out by the rigorous reporting,” a Forbes spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We stand by our reporting 100 percent.”
While Wolfe Herd says she was “mortified by the allegations” and “saddened and sickened to hear that anyone, of any gender, would ever be made to feel marginalized or mistreated in any capacity at their workplace,” the exec also detailed that “Badoo is currently conducting an investigation into the allegations, as well as compiling documentation to expose the factual inaccuracies that exist within the article.”
Wolfe Herd’s statement is provided in full at the end of the article. We’ve reached out to Forbes for comment.
The Forbes report, titled “Exclusive Investigation: Sex, Drugs, Misogyny And Sleaze At The HQ Of Bumble’s Owner,” focused largely on Badoo founder Andrey Andreev and the toxic culture at his company alleged by former employees. The report alleged an early culture at Badoo that ranged from “Ketamine infused afterparties” to engineering updates named after porn stars, and a video shared internally of an employee receiving oral sex.
The allegations went beyond portraying a sexist work environment and detailed racist attitudes of the Badoo founder:
While Badoo’s popularity grew in Europe and Latin America in the early 2010s, adoption was slow in the U.S. The American user base then was mostly Latino. Andreev would complain when he saw too many dark faces on the app—he believed it lowered the value of the brand and made it look cheap, says a former employee who worked on marketing campaigns. “Andrey was always making it clear that white was better,” says the former high-ranking executive. “If someone were to arrive a little bit late to the office and they were Latino or African, he would make comments like, ‘Well, what can you expect,’ as if people who were not white were not hardworking.”
Quoted on-record was the company’s former CMO Jessica Powell:
“While serving as the company’s CMO, I was told to act pretty for investors and make job candidates ‘horny’ to work for Badoo,” Jessica Powell, Badoo’s chief marketing officer from 2011 to 2012 says in an email. “I was once even asked to give a designer candidate a massage.” She says she refused to do so, adding that “female employees were routinely discussed in terms of their appearance.”
“When female staff spoke up, their concerns were ignored or minimized,” she adds, decrying a “misogynistic atmosphere.”
Wolfe Herd’s comments showcases a broader effort to distance the Bumble brand, which is closely aligned with her own personal brand, from the allegations against Badoo and its founder. It is difficult to separate Badoo and Bumble from a business perspective, as both fall beneath Andreev’s recently created MagicLab parent …read more
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