Scott Chen, the president of popular gay dating app Grindr, has come under fire after comments he made on his personal Facebook page were interpreted by some to indicate he is against same-sex marriage.
“Some think marriage is between a man and a woman. I think so, too, but it’s a personal matter,” Chen wrote in a Facebook post that was translated by NBC News. “Some people think the purpose of marriage is to have your own biological children. It’s a personal matter, too.”
The news about Chen’s comments broke late last week by INTO, a news site owned by Grindr.
“Grindr’s president and former CTO Scott Chen wrote a comment on his personal Facebook page saying that he believed that marriage was only meant to be between a man and a woman, several sources from within Grindr told INTO,” the opening paragraph of the INTO article stated.
Chen, who has been an executive at Grindr since Chinese gaming company Kunlun acquired the app in 2017, shot back at INTO’s story, saying it took his marriage comments out of context.
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“On November 26, I wrote a post on my personal Facebook account meant to condemn those advocating against same-sex marriage in Taiwan,” Chen wrote. “The words I chose related to marriage between a man and a woman were meant to express my personal feelings about my own marriage to my wife — not to suggest that I am opposed to marriage equality.”
Chen added, “I am an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and have been since I was young. I support gay marriage and I am proud that I can work for Grindr. I apologize that my words did not clearly convey these feelings.”
Chen’s initial Facebook post from Nov. 26, which included his controversial marriage comments, was in response to an INTO story about one of the founders of Taiwanese electronics company HTC being involved with groups fighting gay marriage in Taiwan. In his post, which was independently translated by NBC News, Chen said he “won’t buy HTC products for the rest of my life” due to the founder’s alleged support of anti-gay groups.
In the days following INTO’s story about Scott Chen, leaders of other gay dating apps seized on the opportunity to publicize their pro-gay-marriage credentials .
“I am unequivocally in favor of gay marriage,” Eric Silverberg, CEO and co-founder of Scruff, said in a statement. “I am deeply proud of the decades-long work that activists here in the United States and internationally have done to bring this fundamental human right to everyone.”
Christof Wittig, CEO and co-founder of Hornet, had a stronger reaction to the controversy.
“It goes without saying how appalled I am if people who make money from LGBT+ are not supporting our cause for #equality and universal #acceptance,” he wrote on Facebook.
As for Grindr users, reaction to Chen’s comments and INTO’s story about its boss were mixed.
This is not the first time Grindr, which boasts 3.3 million daily active users around the world, has been embroiled in a controversy this year.
In April, Buzzfeed reported that Grindr was sharing users' HIV status and "last tested date" with other companies. Then in August, NBC News reported on the robust market for illicit drugs on the dating app.
Neither Grindr President Scott Chen nor INTO Editor-in-Chief Zach Stafford responded to NBC News’ requests or comment on this story.
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