Herrick says that Grindr, despite terms of service that explicitly disallow impersonating other people, never responded even after dozens of requests from him and from family members trying to help."It’s the ostrich with its head in the sand strategy," says Goldberg.Herrick said that he hadn't—he hadn't even looked at the app in a week—and asked how the stranger even knew his name.That's when the man pulled out his phone and showed Herrick a Grindr profile that included a photo of Herrick in his kitchen, taken from his Instagram account, including the 32-year-old actor and model's face and bare chest. "That's me, but that's not me," he remembers saying.When profiles impersonating Herrick began to appear on Scruff, he filed an abuse complaint with the company that led to the offending account being banned within 24 hours, according to Herrick's complaint against Grindr.Scruff also prevented the same device or IP address from creating any new accounts.This is the months-long nightmare Herrick describes in a lawsuit he filed against Grindr last week in the Supreme Court of New York.He accuses Grindr of negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false advertising, and deceptive business practices for allowing him to be impersonated and turned into an unwitting beacon for stalkers and harassers.
"It’s a living hell."Cases of Grindr catfishing and deception happen every so often on Grindr—sometimes with tragic results.Herrick's civil complaint against the company states that despite contacting Grindr more than 50 times, Grindr hasn't offered a single response beyond auto-replies saying that it's looking into the profiles he's reported.Even after a judge signed an injunctive relief order Friday to force Grindr to stop the impersonating profiles, they persist: Herrick says that at least 24 men have come to his home and work since then.And Herrick says the person controlling the fake profiles will often tell the visitors Herrick will "say no when he means yes," or that he'd sent them away only to hide them from his jealous roommate, and that they should return."They were setting him up to be sexually assaulted," says Herrick's attorney Carrie Goldberg."It’s just luck that it hasn’t happened yet."Herrick's civil complaint points to an ex-boyfriend as the source of the impersonation attacks.The ex-boyfriend told WIRED in a phone call that he denies "any and all allegations" in the complaint, but declined to comment further due to what he described as another pending case that involves both him and Herrick.