In yet another disturbing incident, criminal perpetrators have used a fake Grindr profile to take advantage of queer men looking to connect.
Marc Power, a gay man who lives in Dublin, Ireland, reportedly set out to meet a man he was chatting up on Grindr when a group of teenage boys set a trap for him. They allegedly left him left bloodied and scraped up, attacking him with hammers and vandalizing his car.
In a Facebook post, Power shared his story along with photos of his injuries, which included a severe gash on his face.
“I've just been the victim of a premeditated homophobic attack here in Dublin,” he wrote. “[…] They tried to kill me with these weapons. They didn't manage, but I'm in the emergency room in hospital [sic] with facial injuries and my car was destroyed. I'm OK but fucking angry.”
The attack took place at about 10:30pm Tuesday evening, as the Irish television news network RTE previously reported. Police in Ireland are examining footage from the area where the attack took place and told the broadcaster they are investigating whether or not the incident can be classified as a hate crime.
Power called upon his followers to help him find his attackers and hold the app accountable. “I need to find out why grindr allows violent scum to open accounts,” he said. “The police were helpful but hands tied as dumb teenage scum fear nothing.”
The harrowing attack in Dublin is one in a string of known incidents that underscore the safety challenges faced by Grindr users.
Last month, a teenager who bypassed the app’s age restrictions was kidnapped by a group of men in central India and held at ransom for the equivalent of about $7,000, until he was rescued by his father. Police arrested one of the perpetrators. And in July, a Detroit man was arrested after using the app for an attempted robbery and shooting, leaving one man killed and another injured.
In a statement to NBC News, a Grindr spokesperson expressed remorse for the Detroit incident and said it was disturbed by reports, in which prosecutors allege the men were targeted because of their sexual orientation.
“We take a number of measures to protect our community: from providing safety information to assist users when interacting with others online, banning user accounts that violate our Community Guidelines, redesigning our in-app reporting process, to obscuring geo-hashing data in countries where it is unsafe for the LGBTQ+ community,” the spokesperson told NBC News.
“We also listen to and engage with our community through many channels, encouraging them to report suspicious activities, and investigating and addressing issues that are brought to our attention,” the company added.
News of Power’s attack in Dublin upset a gay Irish politician, who shared his own story of being attacked outside at night because of his sexual orientation. Lawmaker Chris Pender said local police told him at the time that if he didn’t want to be attacked for being gay, then maybe he shouldn’t “flaunt” it.
“As a result of that attack even though I walked away relatively unscathed and yet I changed everything about my behaviour for a long time,” Pender tweeted.
“We all use or have used Grindr for various different reasons and what ever those reasons are, are up to each and every one of us individually. It does not mean that we are open for attack but this has always been a reality for people like me.”