Former Tinder Exec Rosette Pambakian Alleges Its CEO Sexually Assaulted Her

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Who Is Rosette Pambakian? New Details On The Former Tinder Exec And Her Sexual Assault Case Against Dating App
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Rosette Pambakian, the former Head of Marketing and Communications at Tinder, has filed a lawsuit against the dating app’s parent company, Match, and against former Tinder CEO Gregory Blatt. Blatt now faces charges of wrongful termination, sexual battery, and negligence, which in laymen terms means that he groped and kissed her even after she clearly indicated she wasn’t down. She was subsequently fired for speaking up (allegedly). Pambakian said Gregory Blatt apologized for his behavior and that they “agreed to quash the incident and not to speak of it again,” but yet, there’s still a lawsuit.

What happened? Who is Rosette Pambakian?

1. Rosette Pambakian is the former marketing chief of Tinder.

Pambakian began her professional career in public relations and marketing after graduating from California State University Northridge in 2005. Before she joined Tinder’s executive team, she worked as the Director of Public Relations for the Entertainment Fusion Group, as well as with multiple agencies that represent consumer, tech and entertainment brands. Her relationship with Tinder began in 2012 when the dating app was one of her clients at the PR agency she was working at in Los Angeles. “Sean Rad walked into my office and showed me an app that he and his co-founders had built,” she recalls. “Little did I know when I drafted that first press release that we would join forces and go on to build Tinder into a global phenomenon and an integral part of the pop culture lexicon which has had a profound impact on millions of people’s lives.” So she began coordinating with other leaders at Tinder to get the company off the ground, and officially began working at Tinder in March of 2014. In the lawsuit, her attorneys described her as “one of the earliest executive hires and the longest standing female executive at the dating app Tinder.” She’s been widely recognized as an expert in the PR field. In 2018, she was part of PR Week’s annual “40 Under 40” list, as well as Cosmopolitan's “2018 Millennial Power” List.

2. She claims she tolerated “inappropriate behavior” by Gregory Blatt for awhile prior to the alleged assault.

Blatt was the CEO of Tinder when the incident occurred. The lawsuit filed against him on Monday in the Los Angeles Superior Court claimed that Pambakian was fired as marketing vice president in 2018 after complaining about a sexual misconduct incident that happened in December of 2016. It also includes the serious allegation that Match, Tinder’s parent company, “had previously concealed other sexual misconduct allegations through confidential payoffs and settlements."

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3. She left the party to go to the hotel room of one of her colleagues, and Blatt later joined them.

According to the lawsuit, Blatt told Pambakian at the party that he got "hard every time I look at you" and then told her, "Let's get out of here." Pambakian left the party with a coworker to go hang out in a third colleague’s hotel room, where Blatt later arrived to join them around 2am. Pambakian said she was sitting on the bed in the hotel room when he showed up and immediately walked over to her. He then reportedly climbed on top of her and began grabbing her breasts and upper thighs, kissing her shoulders, neck, and chest. He asked the other two witnesses to turn off the lights. Pambakian pulled away from him — you know, the universal sign for no — and recommended that they all order food.

Pambakian claims that after the food arrived, Blatt tried to kiss her again. She again moved away from him and announced that it was time for her to leave. According to the complaint, the first witness begged her not to leave her alone with Blatt, so Pambakian again rebuffed him and told him to leave, which he eventually did. She and the second witness waited until Blatt’s car service arrived before leaving themselves.

4. Tinder co-founder Sean Rad called for an independent investigation instead of one conducted by Match insiders, according to the lawsuit.

When Sean Rad got wind of what happened at the holiday party, he asked Pambakian about it directly. An internal investigation was opened, but according to the complaint, “Mr. Rad expressed his fears that the investigation was biased, because two executives who reported directly to Defendant Blatt, the subject of the investigation, were in fact in charge, but his concerns fell on deaf ears.” Supposedly Rad asked to speak to the board about it but his request was refused. The lawsuit alleges that Rad faced “threats from Match executives that if he did not stop pursuing the investigation into Defendant Blatt’s misconduct he would face retribution.”

RELATED: 4 Reasons Tinder Truly Sucks In 2019

5. The lawsuit claims that the company’s human resources department and legal counsel knew about the incident and covered up the alleged misconduct.

IAC “even allowed Blatt to contact Pambakian and one of the eyewitnesses [of the alleged incident] directly, whom Blatt then pressured to conceal his misconduct.” Blatt was allowed to continue his duties as interim CEO during the internal investigation, the lawsuit says. Shockingly, Mandy Ginsberg, current CEO of Tinder’s parent company, Match, said the incident was "thoroughly investigated" by the board and they concluded that "no sexual harassment occurred." Pambakian's lawyers accused Match's owner, InterActiveCorp (IAC), which is controlled by the media mogul Barry Diller, of conducting a sham investigation that concluded the behavior was "consensual."

6. This legal action is separate from a $2 billion lawsuit Pambakian co-filed last year against IAC, Match’s parent company.

In that suit, the plaintiffs claimed that IAC purposely undervalued Tinder to reduce the amount it had to pay out in early employee options. The 10 current and former Tinder staff members who filed it are seeking at least $2 billion in damages over what they allege was a deliberate attempt by IAC to cheat them out of money owed for their stock options. IAC says the suit is unfounded, based on "sour grapes" (anger from someone who simply didn’t get what they wanted). They claim that their subsidiary Match Group has actually paid out "in excess of a billion dollars in equity compensation to Tinder's founders and employees."

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7. Because of an arbitration agreement, she and three of her colleagues were forced to withdraw from the lawsuit against IAC.

Pambakian’s Tinder contract supposedly included an arbitration clause that forces her to deal with legal complaints against Tinder “in secret,” outside the legal system. Other companies have similar fine print clauses that prohibit their employees from taking the employer to court over issues such as wage theft, race discrimination or sexual harassment. Arbitration is a function of the private court system (as opposed to the civil courts) that forces the parties involved to use an arbitrator paid by the employer as opposed to a traditional judge and jury to decide on the case. The entire interaction is strictly confidential and legally binding — once parties agree to settle a dispute with arbitration, they forfeit their right to go to court. The practice has been used for centuries as a quicker and cheaper alternative to its formal counterpart. Uber, Facebook and Google have since eliminated forced arbitration for sexual misconduct claims.

Leah Scher is an ENFP and recent graduate of Brandeis University. She's an alumna of the Kenyon Review Young Writer's Workshop the Iowa Young Writers' Studio. She's passionate about Judaism, poetry, film, satire, astrology, spirituality, and sexual health.