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Tinder settles sexual harassment lawsuit with former exec

A lawsuit from a former employee accused the dating app's co-founders of condoning a "frat-like" environment, in which she was called disparaging names.

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Tinder's office in West Hollywood. Jennifer Van Grove/CNET

The popular dating app Tinder has settled a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by one of its early employees without admitting any wrongdoing.

Whitney Wolfe, who served as a vice president of marketing and described herself as a Tinder co-founder, filed the lawsuit in June, accusing the company's chief marketing officer, Justin Mateen, of repeatedly calling her disparaging names and harassing her. Wolfe also accused the company's management of allowing the behavior that ultimately forced her out of the company.

In her filing, Wolfe described the conduct of Tinder's senior executives as "frat-like" and said she was called a "whore" in front of Sean Rad, Tinder's CEO. Mateen also allegedly told her that listing her as a co-founder made the company "seem like a joke."

IAC, the media brand company that owns Tinder, confirmed the settlement to CNET but declined to discuss settlement details.

The settlement was also confirmed by Wolfe's legal representatives.

"Whitney's lawsuit against Tinder has been resolved (without admission of wrongdoing)," John Mullan, a partner at Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe, told BuzzFeed News, which first reported the settlement. "She is proud of her role as a co-founder of Tinder and of the role she played in the app's success. She is now pleased to be able to focus her energy, talents, and ideas on exciting new opportunities."

Mateen, who was suspended by the company after Wolfe's lawsuit was filed, has since resigned from the company, according to BuzzFeeed and the Los Angles Times. CNET has contacted IAC for comment on Mateen's status with the company and will update this report when we learn more.

Launched in 2012 out of media conglomerate IAC's Hatch Labs, Tinder is a smartphone app for meeting new people, dates in particular, with the swipe of a finger. When two people viewing each other's photos on the service swipe to the right of their screens to indicate mutual interest, they can start chatting.

The suit is the latest example of the struggles the tech industry has faced over women's issues. Other companies, including code company GitHub and venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, have also faced allegations of poor treatment of women.