Bumble acknowledged that it was in the wrong [File]

Bumble acknowledged that it was in the wrong [File]
| Photo Credit: REUTERS

Bumble has apologised for an ad campaign poking fun at nuns and celibacy after users reacted with anger and criticised the way the dating app company singled out women who chose to stay away from the dating scene.

Bumble’s ads included billboard postings with slogans such as “Thou shalt not give up on dating and become a nun” and “You know full well a vow of celibacy is not the answer,” playing on Catholic references.

A similar video ad by the company showed a woman joining what appears to be a nun-like cult with other female members, but being unable to resist looking at a man working in the vicinity.

The ads went viral for all the wrong reasons, as women criticised Bumble for making fun of their personal dating choices instead of focusing on more pressing issues such as women’s safety while dating, predatory behaviour on the Bumble app itself, fake or unsafe profiles, and intimate partner violence.

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Bumble acknowledged that it was in the wrong.

“We made a mistake. 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,” said Bumble’s statement on Instagram on Tuesday, adding that celibacy could be chosen by people lacking reproductive rights, those who are recovering from trauma, or those who simply wish to abstain.

The dating company said it would be making a donation to a domestic violence hotline in the U.S., removing the ads from its global campaign, and giving up its ad space to progressive partners.

When founded, Bumble positioned itself as a dating app that empowered women by allowing them to start and control their conversations with men, but in late April this year introduced an update that will allow men to respond to women’s pre-set questions.

This was called “opening moves,” and will let women decide whether to move forward with the conversation.

Bumble also said it was adding badges to profiles to let potential matches know whether the person in the profile was looking for casual dates, a life partner, or something in-between.