Tinder Founder: A ‘Really, Really Famous’ Model Is ‘Begging’ Me for Sex

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Tinder Plus Launch Party Ft. Jason Derulo And ZEDD At Hangar 8 Santa Monica
Photo: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images

Sean Rad, the founder and CEO of dating app Tinder, dislikes journalists. In an interview with the Evening Standard, he says of them, “Too many are not seeking truth but fame.” In the same interview, he says a “supermodel, someone really, really famous” is “taunt[ing]” and “begging” him for sex. Perhaps the problem lies not with the journalists but with Sean Rad.

Rad and Tinder have not been well-treated in the press over the last couple of years, largely thanks to a sexual-harassment lawsuit filed by ousted co-founder Whitney Wolfe. Rad wasn’t specifically accused of harassment, but was said to have been present when his close friend and fellow co-founder, former CMO Justin Mateen, called Wolfe a “whore” and a “gold digger.” (Wolfe, who settled with Tinder, has since gone on to found Bumble, a Tinder competitor.)

Not much about the Evening Standard interview indicates that Rad is the kind of CEO you might trust to control a harassment problem. Specifically, this bit, where he … well, read it for yourself:

He’s desperate to impress on me how gallant he is, citing the fact that a “supermodel, someone really, really famous” has been “begging” him for sex “and I’ve been like, no”. She’s “taunted” him, he says, and “called me a prude”. 

She’s one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen but it doesn’t mean that I want to rip her clothes off and have sex with her. Attraction is nuanced. I’ve been attracted to women who are …” he pauses “… well, who my friends might think are ugly. I don’t care if someone is a model. Really. It sounds clichéd and almost totally unbelievable for a guy to say this, but it’s true. I need an intellectual challenge.”

Struggling to remember a word that describes “someone who gets turned on by intellectual stuff” — someone like Rad — he comes up with “sodomy.” (What he probably means is sapiosexual, which is not a real sexual orientation or fetish but rather a word invented for Facebook quizzes and identity-formation listicles.)

Having established to interviewer Charlotte Edwards that he is not just some tech roué — that he is a sapiosexual who will even bed ugly chicks — Rad is free to move on to his other subject: journalists. He’s particularly furious at Nancy Jo Sales, who indicted Tinder in a Vanity Fair piece on the rise of hookup culture. Rad tells Edwards that he learned “some stuff about [Sales] as an individual that will make you think differently” about her. He does not elaborate.

Tinder already went nuclear over Sales’s article back in August with a bizarre, preplanned Twitter meltdown remarkably similar in tone to Rad’s interview: self-righteous, manic, and factually challenged. Thinking the press is corrupt, fame-hungry, stupid is fine! But sometimes the problem isn’t biased and negative journalism. Sometimes the problem is just that you’re an asshole.