New Yorker Matthew Herrick says he has been put through “living hell” after fake Grindr accounts sent over 700 men to his home and workplace.
The 32-year-old tells Wired that he was smoking a cigarette outside his Harlem apartment when a stranger turned up looking for sex. Herrick hadn’t used the app all week but the man showed him the profile he had been communicating with—it used his name, photos from his Instagram and had shared his address.
Herrick reported the account immediately, but his problems only got worse when the fake profiles began to multiply.
He says that nearly 8-9 men started showing up to his building every day, some turning up to the restaurant he worked at in midtown Manhattan.
In some terrifying instances, Herrick says the fake profiles had requested a “rape fantasy” while communicating with other Grindr users.
“They were setting him up to be sexually assaulted,” says Herrick’s attorney Carrie Goldberg. “It’s just luck that it hasn’t happened yet,” she says.
Herrick’s civil complaint indicates that the creator of the fake profiles is an ex-boyfriend.
“A malicious user is just running amok using their product as a weapon,” says Goldberg. “Grindr can control that, and they’re not.”
Herrick has contacted Grindr over 50 times and is yet to receive a response.
He has accused the app of “negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false advertising, and deceptive business practices” in a lawsuit he filed with the Supreme Court last week.