For years users on Scruff were required to list the color of their skin on their profile, which allowed for race-based filtering Scruff is now making the “ethnicity” field optional.
It appears this was a sudden change, why?
Eric Sliverberg, Scruff co-found and CEO now wants to do its part to end global racism. The app currently has over 12 million users in 180 countries.
“We recognize that the queer community of color faces discrimination and racism as part of their regular lives,” Silverberg says. “It is why Scruff is the only platform that vigorously enforces its community guidelines to ensure that harassment, racism, and abuse doesn’t happen, and if it does it is dealt with swiftly.”
We have to refute the claim that Scruff is the “only” app to “vigorously” combat racism and abuse. Chappy and Jack’d have been doing this for some time and Scruff is late to the party.
Silverberg adds that “what people are comfortable sharing changes, both as you use the app more and as social and cultural expectations evolve.”
To be honest this is quite a turnaround from what he told Buzzfeed in 2016 when Sliverberg tried to defend the app’s ethnicity filters, saying:
“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 include… That can mean many things to different people. Sometimes they have ethnic preferences, sometimes they have height/weight preferences, and sometimes people have body hair preferences.”
It’s only natural that people change, right?
This comes on the heels of Grindr announcement that it will be launching “kindr”, an initiative to combat racism, transphobia, and body-shaming (good luck on that one).
“Our upcoming ‘Kindr’ initiative, which is built around education, awareness and specific policy changes in the Grindr app, will serve as the first step of many Grindr will be taking to help foster a more inclusive and respectful community on our platform,” the hookup app said in a statement last month.
Silverberg was asked to comment about Kindr and told the Advocate: “Scruff has always had zero tolerance for abuse on its app, and diligently removes these kinds of accounts to create a safe platform for its users.”
To be honest it good to see popular hookup apps finally acknowledging and coming to terms that racism exists within the LGBTQ community and admitting that they might have some reasonability for some of it.
So, the question remains that after years of promoting sexual racism, would merely getting rid of one filter be enough? We will have to wait and see.