Culture

A Dating Website For Uniformed People Claims A Married Cop Suing Them Isn’t As Innocent As He Claims

If you’re in a relationship, hold on to them tight. If you’re not, good luck out there because the dating world is mad crazy. Trying to meet people, especially online (is there any other way?) it is rough. Millions of people are trying to find love via dating websites, which means the competition is steep. It’s also challenging to make people not swipe left, meaning, getting someone to be interested in you based on your picture alone is the ultimate goal. So what makes people interested in someone else? If you’re a woman attracted to men, it’s pretty much the same thing since the beginning of time: tall, dark, handsome, and a man in uniform. That brings us to this hilarious yet unfortunate story.

A Florida cop has filed a lawsuit against a dating website for using his picture for marketing purposes. Oh yeah, and he also happens to be married.

Credit: @wackymoe / Twitter

Before we go on, we know what you’re thinking: this cop lied to his wife, set up a dating profile online, and got caught, so now he’s suing the company, acting like he had nothing to do with it. 

However, companies of all sorts have been caught in the past for wrongfully using images without permission simply because they came across a random image online. Also, the man is hot! So, of course, these online dating websites would want to attract users by using the image of an attractive young police officer (in uniform) as a way to lure in people who are starving for love (or something else, wink wink). 

David Guzman alleges that he had no idea his image was being used as a marketing ploy for online dating websites until his friends came across his advertisement.

Credit: @Kaygirl8Lawana / Twitter

According to court documents, last year Guzman said his friends told him that they had seen his picture and informed him like ‘hey, dude isn’t this you?’ Another person who found out: his wife! Yikes!!

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that his wife asked Guzman why his picture was on a dating website, and he responded to her by saying he “had no idea.” Okay, like that’s going to be enough for her to believe him. By the way, the advertisement that accompanied his picture said: “Bulletproof vest? Nah, it’s all muscle” Catchy and enticing! But yeah, he said he did not write that either. 

The 33-year-old police officer contacted the owner of the dating websites and demanded that they take down his picture from UniformDating.com.

Credit: @joshuarhett / twitter

NSI Holdings, owner of Cupid.com and UniformDating.com, didn’t take down the picture. First, they demanded that Guzman show identification, which he did promptly. Then NSI Holdings alleges that they found a dating profile that included his name, his age, and his birthdate and his email address.

Their argument is they have a right to use his picture because he apparently has a dating profile. They’re saying that either Guzman or someone close to him, started a profile and used his information. NSI Holdings also found that the person attached to that dating website did go on UniformDating.com and “that creation of the profile was a momentary dalliance.”  

Furthermore, people who use NSI Holdings dating website sign the terms and agreements which state that they can use your image and information as they please “to reproduce and broadcast the information contained in your profile including your name, photograph” and other submissions “for marketing and other purposes,” without compensating the user. Now that is some kind of bullshit. 

Guzman alleges that the company has still not taken down his picture, and he’s not rolling over and taking this kind of harassment.

Credit: @FCN2go / Twitter

It’s unclear what Guzman is asking for in his lawsuit, aside from the company taking down his picture, but we’re sure some monetary payback is in order.

“Defendant’s use of plaintiff’s image, likeness and/or identity in connection with a dating service impugns plaintiff’s character, embarrasses him, and suggests — falsely — that he, a married person, is presently dating and seeking out other partners,” the lawsuit states according to the New York Post

Legal docs go on to state, that Guzman is “a married man and respected member of his community who has been caught with a profile on an online dating website.” Or perhaps he just got caught with his pants down, so to speak. No! We remain Team Guzman. 

Who do you believe? Let us know in the comments.

READ: Check Out Some Of Yesika Salgado’s Best Clapbacks To Creepy Men Hitting On Her On Dating Apps

Major Investigation Reveals That Most Popular Dating Apps Aren’t Keeping Users Safe From Sex Offenders

Things That Matter

Major Investigation Reveals That Most Popular Dating Apps Aren’t Keeping Users Safe From Sex Offenders

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A 16-month investigation conducted by Columbia Journalism Investigations found that the Match Group which owns 45 popular dating apps like Tinder, Plenty of Fish, and OK Cupid does not screen for sexual offenders. Match Group does audit users for sex crimes on their namesake property Match.com, but admits that on its free platforms it expects users to police themselves. 

The CJI report found that the policy leaves users vulnerable to sexual assault, and multiple victims have reported rapes because of it. Tinder, the company’s most successful app, has 5.2 million subscribers. Altogether Match Group is worth $1.7 billion in revenue. Many feel the publicly-traded company owes its subscribers more protection. 

Susan Deveau says her Plenty of Fish date raped her. 

When 54-year-old Deveau met Mark Papamechail on Plenty of Fish in 2016, she had no way of knowing he was a three-time convicted rapist. In Massachusetts, he was listed as a dangerous registered sex offender. After going on several dates, Deveau reported to the police that Papamechail raped her. She was the second woman to report Papamechail for rape after meeting him on a dating app. 

According to the app’s terms of use subscribers must “promise” they haven’t committed a felony, sex crime, or violent crime by agreeing to it. Thus the only method of screening is an honor system that assumes any user would actually read through the lengthy agreement. The company does not try to verify or screen for whether users are being honest or not. 

There’s a reason why Match.com screens for registered sex offenders.

Before Match Group bought up its competitors and became publicly traded, it agreed to screen for sex crimes on its flagship property Match.com. When the company expanded it didn’t extend this policy to its catalog of 45 apps. Match.com only agreed to check its users against the government’s sex offender registries after a public complaint from Carole Markin in 2011.

Markin says she was raped by a man she met on the platform on their second date. Afterward, she discovered he was convicted of rape six times. Markin was able to make her lawsuit public having been an entertainment executive herself. Under pressure, Match.com’s lawyers revealed they had begun implementing the screening process that utilized the government registries. Eventually, Markin settled.

A Match Group spokesperson told CJI that the free platforms don’t collect enough data to create a uniform screening policy. 

“There are definitely registered sex offenders on our free products,” the spokesperson said

CJI found at least 157 incidents of sexual assault across dating apps. 

Most of the assaults happened within the last 5 years. Almost all of the victims were women who met their attackers on a Match Group dating app. 

“In 10% of the incidents, dating platforms matched their users with someone who had been accused or convicted of sexual assault at least once, the analysis found. Only a fraction of these cases involved a registered sex offender,” according to the investigation. 

However, what was most notable was that Match.com, which does have a screening policy, had no assault cases. Match Group’s spokesperson said that tens of millions of people use their platform, therefore 157 cases aren’t enough to warrant an overhaul. 

 “[Match Group] takes the safety, security, and well-being of our users very seriously,” the company said in a statement. “A relatively small amount of the tens of millions of people using one of our dating services have fallen victim to criminal activity by predators. We believe any incident of misconduct or criminal behavior is one too many.”

Some employees told CJI they don’t think the company goes far enough to protect users.

According to the investigation, many who worked at Match Group feel the company doesn’t equip or train them to deal with sexual assault complaints. Some said the process also fails to prevent more harm even after an incident has been reported because banned users can easily make new accounts.

“The problem has grown as the popularity of online dating has soared — in 2015, 12% of American adults were on a dating site, compared with 3% in 2008,” according to the report. “In 2016, the UK National Crime Agency reviewed police reports over a five-year period and found online-dating sexual assault had increased as much as 450% — from 33 to 184 cases.” 

CJI surveyed 1,200 women who used a dating app with the last 15 years. A third of the women surveyed said one of their dates sexually assaulted them, half of these women said it was rape. Match Group refused to comment on the questionnaire. 

Only five states have regulations to protect online daters, but those measures largely exist to prevent scams. With little pressure for the industry to change and as more victims come forward the future of online dating remains uncertain.

Harvard’s Only Latina Professor Was Denied Tenure, Sparking Student Protests and a Larger Conversation About Institutional Racism

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Harvard’s Only Latina Professor Was Denied Tenure, Sparking Student Protests and a Larger Conversation About Institutional Racism

@DivestHarvard / Twiter

Harvard has long been regarded as one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the US, if not the world. The Ivy League University has 36,012 students and 2,400 faculty members from over 150 countries. But although Harvard often boasts of the efforts they make to diversify their students, their faculty, and their curriculum, their track record has been less than stellar. That has been no clearer than in the recent turmoil surrounding the denial of their only Latina Professor, Lorgia García Peña. 

Once students learned of the University President’s decision to deny Garcia tenure, they were dismayed. Garcia’s tenure had been watched closely by the student body throughout the year, some going so far as to conduct a letter-writing campaign on her behalf earlier in the year. Once the initial disappointment at the decision faded, some students felt the need to take action. 

On Monday, roughly 50 students took to Harvard’s University Hall to protest Professor García’s tenure denial.

Although there is a Non-Discrimination and Affirmative Action clause in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences Appointment Handbook, students believe that the decision to deny García tenure “exemplifies bias in the review process against professors of Ethnic Studies, whose scholarship and mentorship often put them in tension with Harvard’s administration”. 

In light of the upsetting denial of Garcia as a tenured professor, students drafted a petition with a list of demands aimed at the administration. The petition demands that the administration provides students with an explanation as to why Garcia’s tenure was denied. Students also demand a formal investigation into the alleged reasoning behind the tenure denial, with a specific focus on possible unconscious or structrual bias. Last but not least, the students demand the formal establishment of an Ethnic Studies Division–a request that the student body has been pursuing since 1972. 

For college professors, securing tenure is widely thought of as the most important accomplishment in their academic career.

According to The American Association of University Professors, becoming a tenured professor means that you “can be terminated only for cause or under extraordinary circumstances”. In other words, it is a professor’s permanent job contract, which grants them greater academic freedom and protects them from being arbitrary fired. Usually, a professor is granted tenure after a probationary period of six years after which they’ve established themselves as valuable to the institution they’re working for. Usually during this time, they’re expected to publish academic research and findings to prove their value.

According to Professor Robert Anderson of Pepperdine University, tenure means that professors “are the most secure” in the unpredictable game of university politics. “[Tenured professors] are more like debt holders. If anyone bears the risk, it’s the staff who get tossed in the trash to save faculty”.

The uproar over Garcia’s tenure denial represents the larger struggle that many Latinx academics face when trying to establish themselves in higher education. 

As Latina Harvard student Mercedes Gomez tweeted on Monday, “Harvard flaunts its diversity and its admission numbers, but refuses to do the work to cultivate an environment for its students of color to feel safe and represented”. This statement rings true

As for the broader Latino community, they have not stayed silent on social media when commenting on Harvard’s questionable decision.

The fact itself that Professor Garcia is the only Latina on the faculty on the tenure track is room enough for skepticism. 

Harvard student Mercedes Gomez is especially invested in justice for Professor Garcia. 

https://twitter.com/gomezsb_/status/1201607299741212672?s=20

Let’s hope that the students’ activism spurs Harvard to re-think their decision.

This Latina academic has some chilling stories to tell about the way POC academics are structurally oppressed by academic institutions:

https://twitter.com/yarimarbonilla/status/1201689622583160832?s=20

The evidence seems to be piling up that these professors are denied tenure because their ideas don’t align with the institution’s bottom line. 

This Latina made a valid observation about how boringly predictable these tenure outcomes for WOC have become.

https://twitter.com/allisonefagan/status/1201864198403305472?s=20

The problem with institutional racism is that it’s so insidious–it’s often hard to see when it’s in front of you. And it’s even harder to call out.

This Latina is angry simply at the denial because of Garcia’s stellar resume. 

https://twitter.com/marisollebron/status/1201597626233315329?s=20

It’s frustrating to see that Ivy League institutions recruit off their claims of radical inclusivity, but their administrations don’t follow through when it comes to changing the structures of their institutions. 

The reason for Garcia’s tenure denial should be made public and then investigated. Because if this isn’t evidence of institutional racism, we don’t know what is.