A dating app that primarily caters to gay and bisexual men was slammed for sending notifications some users considered tone-deaf.
According to Pink News, Jack'd was criticized Monday night after its users received a notification that read "All Waves Matter."
Like other similar hook-up apps, a wave is a virtual signal users send to other members they are interested in or want attention from.
But Jack'd, which touts itself on its website as being the "most diverse community for gay, bi, trans, and queer people," rubbed many of its diverse users the wrong way with the use of the phrase.
Many interpreted the app's latest notification as a play on the anti-Black Lives Matter movement's slogan "All Lives Matter."
Although the Director of the University of California Humanities Research Institute—David Theo Goldberg—said "All Lives Matter," was "a truism," and "a given," he argued:
"The universalizing politics of 'All lives matter' is one of racial dismissal, ignoring, and denial."
Many users of Jack'd are people of color—roughly 80%, according to Out.
@shmerpyderp @jackd How did they think this was cute? https://t.co/oxTiwmyeWT— CAR•MINE 💛 (@CAR•MINE 💛)1615264243.0
@carminedavis @jackd It’s time to leave that app where it belongs. https://t.co/R5mo7hBcK6— 𝚄𝚜𝚜𝚢 𝙶𝚞𝚜𝚜𝚢 𝙼𝚢 𝙱𝚞𝚜𝚜𝚢. (@𝚄𝚜𝚜𝚢 𝙶𝚞𝚜𝚜𝚢 𝙼𝚢 𝙱𝚞𝚜𝚜𝚢.)1615266146.0
Jack'd responded to the controversy with an apology. However, they claimed not to know how the push notifications were sent out.
"Hey everyone, we saw the notification too… and we're working on getting to the bottom of how this happened. In the meantime, we are sincerely sorry. That statement is not, nor has it ever been our stance on the matter. #BLM."
Hey everyone, we saw the notification too...and we’re working on getting to the bottom of how this happened. In the… https://t.co/8grVvaUDUx— Jack’d (@Jack’d)1615260925.0
Jack'd user Kodi Seaton—who goes by @Grindrwhileblk on Twitter—wrote:
"Brands need to stop trying to be so f'king cute when it comes to social issues. Period."
In a follow-up tweet, Seaton added:
"WHAT HAPPENED was this message was proposed, vetted and approved by a tone deaf team."
"You weren't hacked. It was a conscious decision. Stop playing in people's faces."
Later, Seaton posted a message that read "Casual corporate racism is the thief of Black joy" and accompanied it with the following tweet:
"It was all good an hour ago and now I get to bed pissed because @jackd showed their a**. One of the joys of being Black: Companies use your ethnicity for attention, clicks and headlines."
It appeared he was later blocked by the dating app.
The next day, Seaton tweeted:
"I got blocked on @jackd's Instagram for VALID comments/thoughts/questions. Where's the accountability, y'all?"
I got blocked on @jackd's Instagram for VALID comments/thoughts/questions. Where's the accountability, y'all?… https://t.co/6RqaVwjjJn— grindrwhileblack (@grindrwhileblack)1615316061.0
Nothing says “I handle valid criticism well" like blocking a Black voice. https://t.co/x4FNVfmNUu— grindrwhileblack (@grindrwhileblack)1615316335.0
Jack'd addressed the backlash and issued the following statement.
"We want to unconditionally apologise to our members for this push notification."
"The writing process for marketing communications at Jack'd involves brainstorming, workshopping, and approval before messages are sent.
"In the case of this notification, a brainstorming session, which included Black and POC team members, was held several weeks prior with the intent of coming up with messages that celebrated a sociopolitical movement we value within our community, Black Lives Matter, that was inclusive of all Black lives."
"This draft should have been disqualified during this session, but was mistakenly added to a list of approved messages."
The Jack'd team put a stop to the notifications three hours after the first one was sent out when they "recognized the error in its inclusion and delivery."
The team concluded their statement with:
"Moving forward, we are working to ensure that our entire team has a common understanding of the sociopolitical issues affecting all of our global members."
Similar location-based gay dating apps like Grindr and Scruff help users find dates by enabling filters for age, height, relationship status, and weight—and on some of the apps—ethnicity.
But in June 2020, Perry Street Software—the parent company of Jack'd and Scruff—announced they would remove their ethnic filters as an act of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.