Bumble apologises for anti-celibacy ad after backlash

Bumble apologises for anti-celibacy ad after backlash
By: Business Posted On: May 14, 2024 View: 16

phone showing the dating application Bumble in 2020

Dating app Bumble has apologised for adverts that critics said shamed women who were not sexually active.

The marketing campaign included messages such as "A vow of celibacy is not the answer" and "Thou shalt not give up on dating and become a nun".

Bumble said the ads were supposed to bring humour to "a community frustrated by modern dating".

But critics said the adverts were tasteless and ran counter to the company's stated aim of empowering women.

"In a world fighting for respect and autonomy over our bodies, it's appalling to see a dating platform undermine women's choices," wrote Jordan Emanuel, a model and actress who has talked publicly about her decision to refrain from sex for a year.

The company, which made its name in the world of dating apps by putting women in charge of starting conversations, said it understood the complaints and would remove the adverts, which started appearing on billboards in the US last month.

"We made a mistake," the company said in a statement posted on social media.

"For years Bumble has passionately stood up for women and marginalised communities, and their right to fully exercise personal choice. We didn't live up to these values with this campaign and we apologize for the harm it caused."

It said it would offer the advertising space to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, among other organisations and donate money.

Bumble was founded in 2014 and became a public company in 2021, but it has struggled amid concerns about its ability to reach younger users.

The company, which also owns Badoo, has seen its shares slide sharply since its debut.

In February, it announced plans to lay off 30% of its workforce - about 350 people.

The company recently relaunched its Bumble app, an overhaul that includes a new setting allowing users to remove the requirement that women initiate contact.

A 2022 Pew survey estimated that a third of US adults and just over half of those under 30 had used a dating app or site at some point.

Of those who had tried out online dating, only half reported they found it a positive experience.

Bumble has about four million paying customers, including 2.7 million on Badoo.

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