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After 17 Months, Grindr Lays Off Staff of LGBTQ News Site INTO

Wednesday Jan 16, 2019

Grindr's LGBTQ news website is no more.

NBC News is reporting the gay dating app laid off the editorial staff and social media team of INTO on Tuesday, the LGBTQ launched just 17 months ago.

"The company will be refocusing its efforts on video and as such, the editorial and social teams were let go this morning," a joint statement from several INTO employees told NBC News. "We feel that INTO's closure is a tremendous loss for LGBTQ media, journalism, and the world...

"...We told stories of transgender prisoners forced to endure nightmarish treatment behind bars, LGBTQ asylum seekers looking for hope and refuge in the United States, and drag queens fighting for space and community in small town Tennessee," the statement continued. "We shared the hopes and joys of the LGBTQ community, our successes and setbacks, and our triumphs and heartaches during a vulnerable political moment."

Click here to check out the full statement via The Advocate.

A spokesperson for the company suggested Grindr will pivot to video.

"As with any growing business, we have to continually evaluate what is best for Grindr," the statement to NBC News reads. "After a thoughtful and collaborative process, Grindr's leadership decided to modify Into's content mix to rely more heavily on video. This decision was driven by the high user engagement and development we see through channels such as Twitter and YouTube. With this strategic shift in focus, several Into employees will be leaving the company. This was a difficult decision and one that we do not take lightly. We want to thank these colleagues for all of their contributions to Grindr and our community."

Launched in August 2017, INTO won awards from NLGJA and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, according to NBC News. Despite its success, the site had its fair share of controversy lately. In November 2018, INTO published a story about the president of Grindr for a Facebook post some believed to carry anti-same-sex marriage sentiment.

Scott Chen responded by posting in the site's comment section, saying the article was "unbalanced and misleading." He also took aim at INTO for noting asking him to comment on the post before publishing the story, but the site's then editor-in-chief, Zac Stafford, claimed the reporter asked him for a comment through a Grindr spokesperson but did not get a response. Nevertheless, Grindr exec Landon Race Zumwalt quit working for the company in protest.

Speaking with NBC News, Zumwalt said he wasn't supposed about INTO's layoffs, saying the site shutting down was "extremely sad of the queer community."

Then in December, the site made headlines for the wrong reasons. INTO apologized for a controversial article that critiqued Ariana Grande's music video "Thank U, Next." Stafford issued the apology, saying he was "personally sorry" for allowing his team to publish the story.

Not long after the blunder, Stafford left INTO to become the editor-in-chief of The Advocate.

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