Landon Rafe Zumwalt opened up about his decision to resign from Grindr in an open letter published on Medium Dec. 7.
“As an out and proud gay man madly in love with a man I don’t deserve, I refused to compromise my own values or professional integrity to defend a statement that goes against everything I am and everything I believe,” Zumwalt, who resides in Los Angeles, wrote. “While that resulted in my time at Grindr being cut short, I have absolutely no regrets. And neither should you.”
HuffPost has reached out to Grindr for comment and did not immediately hear back. However, a spokesperson confirmed to Out magazine that Zumwalt had resigned from his position. “We wish him the best in his future endeavors and appreciate his contributions to the company and the Grindr community,” the spokesperson said.
Zumwalt’s announcement came exactly one week after news broke that Grindr President Scott Chen may not support marriage equality. A Nov. 30 article published by INTO, a digital magazine focused on LGBTQ issues and owned by Grindr, featured a translated version of a since-deleted Facebook status Chen had originally written in Chinese.
According to the translation, he wrote, “There are people who believe that marriage is a holy matrimony between a man and a woman. I agree, but that’s none of our business.”
The story quickly made headlines in mainstream outlets, including The New York Times, The Guardian and The Washington Post. A number of LGBTQ dating apps denounced the translated remarks in interviews and on social media.
Among them was Jack’d, who responded with a short video on Instagram.
Scruff CEO Eric Silverberg, who is openly gay, felt similarly.
“As a private citizen or an employee, you certainly have your right to your private beliefs,” he told Out magazine. “But when a leader in the gay community says these things, they’re disrespecting the decadeslong work of marriage equality activists, and I think more ominously, they’re giving credibility and oxygen to far-right politicians who continue to try and undermine these rights that we really just recently won.”
Chen responded to the backlash by distancing himself from the translated remarks. “The words I chose related to marriage between a man and a woman were meant to express my personal feelings about my own marriage to my wife – not to suggest that I am opposed to marriage equality,” he wrote in an internal memo distributed to Grindr staff and cited by both INTO and NBC News. “I want to make clear that I am an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and have been since I was young.”
“I support gay marriage,” he added. “I am proud that I can work for Grindr. I apologize that my words did not clearly convey these feelings.”
The apology, however, apparently wasn’t enough for Zumwalt, who vowed to cheer his former colleagues on “from the sidelines” in his Medium post.
“Persist. Make your voices heard,” he added. “And never compromise who you are for someone else.”