Matthew Herrick says he is the victim of what amounts to catfishing-by-proxy and serial harassment, and has sued the gay dating app Grindr to make it stop.
The 32-year-old actor/model might have expected to be hot property on the app if he himself had set up the profile featuring his picture, pulled from his Instagram account, which has close to 27,000 followers.
Instead, he alleges that his ex-boyfriend is behind the false account, which has actively solicited hundreds of men and provided them with Herrick’s address and contact information. He has brought suit against Grindr in an attempt to have the account shut down and prevent furthers from being made:
In a lawsuit he filed against Grindr last week in the Supreme Court of New York[,] he accuses Grindr of negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false advertising, and deceptive business practices for allowing him to be impersonated and turned into an unwitting beacon for stalkers and harassers.
Herrick’s civil complaint against the company states that despite contacting Grindr more than 50 times, Grindr hasn’t offered a single response beyond auto-replies saying that it’s looking into the profiles he’s reported. Even after a judge signed an injunctive relief order Friday to force Grindr to stop the impersonating profiles, they persist: Herrick says that at least 24 men have come to his home and work since then. In total, he counts over 700 sex-soliciting men thrown into his daily life by the spoofed accounts since the ordeal began.
Beginning in October, the would-be suitors began to show up at his home, and later even his workplace, and insist upon the sexual encounters they had supposedly agreed; Herrick learned later that the false account would tell these men that he might pretend not to be interested or might have to send them away due to his roommate, but that they should return.
When WIRED contacted the ex-boyfriend, who is not explicitly named in the suit, he denied involvement and would not comment further due to another pending suit between him and Herrick, while Grindr would not comment at all.
While there have been safety-related concerns about Grindr and similar apps, it seems they can have a negative impact on the quality of life even of those who are not users, and provide a diabolical method of stalking and harassment from a distance. As with “revenge porn,” the courts and the legal system need to catch up with the technology.