LGBTQ dating app Grindr fired the editorial staff and social media team at its popular news site Into on Tuesday. The mass layoffs effectively shutter the site, which launched just 17 months ago.
The company is pivoting to video, which will certainly end well.
According to The Advocate, the site’s editors sent out a statement to the press addressing the layoffs, which were announced Tuesday morning. The statement addressed some of the work the site did since it debuted in 2017, with highlights including a GLAAD nomination and an award from the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF). Per the statement:
We told stories of transgender prisoners forced to endure nightmarish treatment behind bars, LGBTQ asylum seekers looking for hope and refuge in the United States, and drag queens fighting for space and community in small town Tennessee. We shared the hopes and joys of the LGBTQ community, our successes and setbacks, and our triumphs and heartaches during a vulnerable political moment. We aimed to give a voice to those who need one now more than ever, a platform for them to see themselves represented wholly.
In doing so, we further proved what queer people have shown for decades: there is an audience, a desire, and a hunger for LGBTQ stories told by LGBTQ people. This includes all letters of the queer alphabet, including intersex, bisexual, pansexual, agender, and asexual communities that had long felt marginalized by mainstream media. Just as importantly, we centered the voices of queer and trans people of color after years of criticism that queer media was too white, too male, and too cisgender. We have hoped to lead by example.
Into Editor-in-Chief Zach Stafford departed the site in December for an EIC gig at The Advocate.
Though Grindr says the site’s closure was purely a “strategic shift in focus” for the company, it is noteworthy that the layoffs come on the heels of an Into piece from November about Grindr President Scott Chen. The story, titled, “Grindr President Says Marriage Is ‘Holy Matrimony Between a Man and a Woman’ In Deleted Social Media Post”, exposed a post on Chen’s Facebook page declaring the following:
There are people who believe that marriage is a holy matrimony between a man and a woman. I agree but that’s none of our business. There are also people who believe that the purpose of marriage is to create children that carry their DNA. That’s also none of our business. There are people that are simply different from you, who desperately want to get married. They have their own reasons.
Chen argued the post was taken out of context, though according to NBC News, Grindr executive Landon Rafe Zumwalt still stepped down in protest. When contacted for comment, Zumwalt told NBC he was not surprised to hear about Into’s layoffs, noting the site’s closure was “extremely sad for the queer community.”