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Bumble Apologises For Billboard Ad Saying ‘A Vow Of Celibacy Is Not The Answer’

The dating app Bumble apologised for its billboard ads that read, “A vow of celibacy is not the answer.”

“We made a mistake,” Bumble said in a statement shared on its Instagram account. “Our ads referencing celibacy were an attempt to lean into a community frustrated by modern dating, and instead of bringing joy and humor, we unintentionally did the opposite.”

It’s unclear how many billboards were involved in the campaign.

The statement continued, saying that the ad might have offended people who are celibate because reproductive rights are diminishing across the nation, people who are celibate by choice and people who are asexual.

Bumble said it is removing the ads and making a donation to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, as well as other organisations. It is also offering billboard space for those organisations to run their own ads.

The divisive ad started to gain traction on TikTok earlier this week, with users criticizing it and saying that celibacy is a legitimate choice and people shouldn’t have to have sex if they don’t want to.

One person who said that they were a copywriter argued that Bumble’s messaging insults people — particularly women — who use the app.

“In this billboard, they’re not saying dating sucks. They’re saying you suck, change something,” the person said. “And they’re not just saying you suck, they’re saying what you’ve chosen to do with your body is stupid.”

Lauren Ash, a Canadian actor and comedian best known for starring in the NBC sitcom “Superstore,” also weighed in on the ad and said women who are voluntarily celibate are a result of dating apps that have created a “damaging dating world that we all exist in now.”

Bumble, which launched in 2014, billed itself as the dating app where “women always make the first move,” a nod to the app’s distinct approach to letting women message male matches first. (Recently, the app introduced an “opening moves” feature where female users can initiate a prompt for male suitors.)

Last month, Bumble unveiled a redesign to help with dating app fatigue. In February, the company laid off 30% of its employees.

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