Grindr unexpectedly laid off the editorial and social media staff for its digital LGBT publication, Into, on Tuesday in an effort to shift to video content.
According to the Advocate, Grindr’s communications department issued a statement to the press explaining the pivot.
“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,” the statement reads.
Into’s staff penned a goodbye letter calling the decision “a tremendous loss for LGBTQ media, journalism, and the world. “
Into launched in 2017 as an online LGBT publication aimed at millennials. During it’s run, it earned a GLAAD nomination and won an award from the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF). After it’s debut, other dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble began to follow suit with plans to launch their own digital editorial platforms.
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai told Forbes in 2017: “We want Into to give people an understanding of the gay world, from a global perspective. It’s quite ambitious but we like to do things big and we like to positively impact the community.”
In November, Into published a story titled “Grindr President Says Marriage Is ‘Holy Matrimony Between a Man and a Woman’ In Deleted Social Media Post,” which called out Grindr President Scott Chen’s same-sex marriage comments.
“Some think marriage is between a man and a woman. I think so, too, but it’s a personal matter,” Chen wrote in a Facebook post that was translated from Chinese to English. “Some people think the purpose of marriage is to have your own biological children. It’s a personal matter, too.”
Chen defended his statement saying that his comments were lost in translation. A few weeks later Landon Rafe Zumwalt, Grindr’s head of communications, resigned.
“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. While that resulted in my time at Grindr being cut short, I have absolutely no regrets. And neither should you,” Zumwalt wrote in a statement.
Into was honored on social media as people grappled with its sudden demise.
Throughout its run, @into has been an important source of news and culture for LGBTQ people, reported by a team of talented queer writers. This is a major loss for the LGBTQ news landscape. https://t.co/P6pju3yubW— GLAAD (@glaad) January 15, 2019
One more thing: This is also a loss to the LGBTQ movement. We rely on news outlets to tell our stories and amplify our issues. For the many places where our stories are too niche, LGBTQ publications handle our stories with unique attention, sensitivity, and understanding.— Eliel Cruz (@elielcruz) January 16, 2019