One of the few women to hold an executive post at Tinder is suing parent companies IAC and Match Group as well as former CEO Greg Blatt for wrongful termination.
Rosette Pambakian, Tinder’s former Head of Communications, claims that Blatt barged into a hotel room after a 2016 holiday party and began ‘forcibly groping [her] breasts and upper thighs, and kissing her shoulders, neck and chest.’
This all happened ‘without [her] consent’ according to the lawsuit
She states in the court filing, which was obtained by DailyMail.com, that she had been hiding from Blatt at the time of the alleged assault, retreating to the room after he said: ‘I get hard every time I look at you. Let’s get out of here.’
Pambakian claims Blatt did apologize, but that her complaint was never fully investigated despite the fact that there were three witnesses present, including his executive assistant.
She also notes that one day after Tinder’s current CEO Sean Rad reported her allegations to executive at IAC and Match Group, ‘Blatt exercised approximately 5 million stock options in Match Group, realizing over $44 million in value.’
Pambakian claims that for the next two years she was ‘marginalized, subject to additional harassing, offensive, and insulting behavior, put on administrative leave, publicly accused of consenting to her attacker’s advances, and finally, wrongfully terminated by Defendants’ this past December.
The company would not comment on this new filing, and instead referred back to a previous statement that addressed these allegations.
‘The Match Group Board – with the assistance of experienced outside counsel from two nationally recognized law firms – promptly conducted a careful and thorough investigation under the direction of independent Board members, concluded, among other things, that there was no violation of law or company policy, and took appropriate action.’
Pambakian and other Tinder executives sued Match and IAC seeking $2 billion a year ago for allegedly bilking them by manipulating financial information to create a lowball estimate of Tinder’s value.
She also detailed the alleged assault in that filing, which the company stated was ‘meritless.’
Her claims were later withdrawn however because she and four others had signed an arbitration agreement with the company.
‘Just months after cheating Tinder employees out of billions of dollars, IAC / Match tried changing its policies in an attempt to force all current employees out of a public courtroom before a jury and into secret arbitration,’ she said at the time.
‘IAC / Match did this only after carrying out their scheme. Let me be very clear: IAC / Match will be held accountable and we will continue to support the lawsuit 100% as it unfolds in New York state court.’
Pambakian believes that the company ignored Blatt’s conduct because he was part of the group working to undervalue Tinder before it was acquired by IAC and Match Group.
The investigation meanwhile determined that what happened between Blatt and Pambakian was nothing more than ‘consensual cuddling.’
At the same time, Pambakian claims that Blatt asked her to lie about the assault when a reporter from Tech Crunch became aware of the alleged incident.
The suit states that she informed ‘Blatt and Chief Human Resources Officer, Ms. Nelson, about the reporter’s inquiry’ into the allegations, and that her ‘own perpetrator’ told her to instead ‘explain the ways Tinder combats sexual harassment, and to throw the reporter off the story.’
Blatt was later asked to resign his post because of the assault according to Pambakian, who says that Blatt told her she would need to ‘sign something’ in order for him to be able to stay in his position.
At the time, she had just refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
She was placed on leave in August 2018 after she and other employees filed their lawsuit, and terminated on December 18 via email.
‘Upon information and belief, Defendants terminated Plaintiff in retaliation for speaking out against Defendant Blatt for his sexual misconduct and for participating in a lawsuit against the Company Defendants related to her stock options,’ states the filing.
‘As a result of these actions, Plaintiff was forced to surrender millions of dollars in equity granted to her as compensation for her work as an executive at Tinder.’
Pambakian is seeking damages to be determined at trial for eight causes of action, including: Negligence, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Sexual Battery, Gender Violence, Ralph Act Violation, Negligent Misrepresentation, Wrongful Termination and Retaliation for Engaging in Protected Activity.
420868318 Rosette Pambakian… by ChrisSpargo on Scribd