Gay hook-up app bosses defend tool that lets users ‘filter out’ black guys

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The creators of gay hook-up app Scruff have defended a tool that lets users filter out anyone who isn’t white.

The app currently has a much-criticised system that guys can use to ‘filter’ out men based on their ethnicity – a feature which is also present on the premium version of rival app Grindr.

Scruff’s co-creators Eric Silverberg and Johnny Skandros defended the option in an interview with Buzzfeed.

Asked about criticism of the filter, Mr Silverberg said: “Those are legitimate critiques… ultimately we wanted to build an app and a service that enables guys to find the kind of guys they’re into and for some people that includes – that can mean many things for different people.

“Sometimes they have ethnic preferences, sometimes they have height/weight preferences, sometimes people have body hair preferences.”

The tech exec added: “A person’s choice of partner is deeply personal, and I don’t think we would presume to judge or tilt one’s choice of sexual partner, boyfriend, or husband..

“Ultimately each one of our own individual choices is profoundly informed by the community we grow up in, perhaps by the relationships we had with our siblings or parents.

“I mean, to try and unpack that would probably take years for each person and so, I don’t know…I give wide latitude to other people when they talk about the kind of people they’re into.”

The pair were also challenged about the number of users who express racial preferences in their bio.

Mr Sliverberg said: “It all depends on context.

“If someone is writing something on their profile with a hostile intention, regardless of the exact language, that will be investigated and may cause the profile to be suspended.

“If someone is communicating a preference from a place of honesty without a hostile intention then that would be OK by our guidelines.”

Mr Skandros added: “You see this diversity of guys from all over the world and you’re like, ‘Wow, these are gay men I’ve never seen before and maybe I do have a different type’.

“That happened with me – I thought I had a certain type of guy until Scruff, until I saw how vast and diverse the global gay community really is.

“My type has completely changed. I say now I don’t have a type any more because I have gone from one spectrum all the way to the other, and that’s because of Scruff.”

Of the 20 men present in the app’s main promotional images, just two are non-white.
Gay hook-up app bosses defend tool that lets users ‘filter out’ black guys