Last week, former Tinder CEO Greg Blatt filed a defamation lawsuit towards Sean Rad and Rosette Pambakian, who’re a part of a bunch of Tinder founders and former executives who accused Blatt (pictured above) of sexual harassment and assault as a part of a broader swimsuit.
Now Rad and Pambakian’s attorneys have filed their very own movement to dismiss the swimsuit, arguing that it “seeks to chill protected speech through costly litigation” — in different phrases, that it’s the form of lawsuit prohibited below California’s anti-SLAPP legislation.
“This lawsuit is meant to muzzle Rosette and Sean from telling the reality about how [IAC chairman] Barry Diller and Greg Blatt stole from their workers and lined up sexual assault allegations,” mentioned Rad and Pambakian’s lawyer Orin Snyder in a press release. “Unfortunately, unlawful retaliatory lawsuits like this one designed to silence victims and violate their First Amendment rights are all too common in the #metoo era.”
In the submitting, Rad and Pambakian’s attorneys additionally argued that Blatt filed the swimsuit “solely to launch a public smear marketing campaign towards Pambakian and the one that reported the assault to Match, Sean Rad. At the identical time, and now that Blatt’s public courtroom filings have served his media goal, Blatt says that the criticism that he himself selected to file in courtroom ought to really be despatched to personal arbitration.”
In response, Blatt’s lawyer Vineet Bhatia despatched the next assertion:
We totally anticipated this run-of-the-mill, procedural smoke display to be made by Rad and Pambakian. These arguments are legally incorrect and we count on to prevail in Court. The backside line is, Rad and Pambakian conspired to defame Mr. Blatt and ought to be held accountable.
Both Blatt’s swimsuit and the brand new submitting search to join the case to the broader #metoo motion (which, as Snyder alluded to, has seen variety of high-profile figures accused of sexual assault, and who then fought again by means of defamation lawsuits).
Blatt’s attorneys argued that “Rad and Pambakian have attempted to weaponize an important social movement, undermining the plight of true victims of sexual abuse by making false accusations in cynical pursuit of a $2 billion windfall.”
In distinction, Rad and Pambakian’s attorneys mentioned the “ensuing crescendo of retaliation — reminiscent of many Hollywood #MeToo cases — included [Tinder’s parent company] Match circling the wagons around Blatt, publicly belittling Pambakian by chalking up the assault to ‘consensual cuddling,’ and firing her months later after she refused to sign an NDA.”
In a lawsuit filed in the summertime of 2018, Rad (Tinder’s co-founder and former CEO), Pambakian (who was then the corporate’s vice chairman of selling and communications), Rad’s fellow co-founders Justin Mateen and Jonathan Badeen and others sued Match and its controlling shareholder IAC, accusing them of manipulating monetary information and eradicating Rad as CEO so as to create a “fake lowball valuation” and strip the founders and executives of their inventory choices.
The swimsuit additionally accused Blatt — who served as an govt at IAC and as CEO of Match earlier than changing Rad as CEO of Tinder — of sexually harassing Pambakian at an organization vacation occasion in 2016.
IAC and Match have known as this swimsuit meritless. And in Blatt’s defamation lawsuit, his attorneys mentioned the encounter between Blatt and Pambakian on the vacation occasion was consensual and that Rad and Pambakian subsequently “conspired to make false allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault against Blatt with the specific intent to damage Blatt’s good name, personal and professional reputation, and credibility.”
In a footnote, Rad and Pambakian’s lawyer say that as a result of they’re making a free speech argument, their movement to dismiss Blatt’s swimsuit doesn’t require the courtroom to “delve into the facts.” However, they add:
Blatt’s false narrative — that this was consensual, and that Pambakian and Rad concocted the assault allegations to assist their valuation lawsuit — is patently false and offensive. The proof exhibits that Blatt admitted being drunk on the vacation occasion, making inappropriate feedback to Pambakian, and “snuggling and nuzzling” her in a lodge mattress. It additional exhibits that Blatt apologized to Pambakian the next week, and later supplied to resign over his misconduct. These will not be the actions of an harmless man, neither is it the primary time Blatt has been accused of mistreating girls within the office.
To again that up that up, the movement factors to a Gawker article describing supposed harassment and verbal abuse by an unnamed “CEO of a major dating site” owned by an organization “in a glass building on the far side of town” (subsequent protection has recommended that the piece was about Blatt).
Pambakian subsequently withdrew from the preliminary swimsuit due to an arbitration settlement, however is now suing Blatt and Match for wrongful termination and sexual assault.
You can learn the complete movement under.