Tinder bans George Zimmerman from app, citing user safety

Tinder has banned George Zimmerman ― the Florida man acquitted of murder charges after fatally shooting unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012 ― barring him from using the popular dating app in order to protect its users.

In a statement sent to HuffPost on Sunday, a spokesperson for the platform confirmed Zimmerman’s account had been deleted.

“At Tinder, we take our users’ safety very seriously and our team has removed this profile from our platform,” the representative said.

Without saying specifically why Zimmerman was removed, the spokesperson said the company spends “millions of dollars annually” to “prevent, monitor and remove bad actors who have violated our Community Guidelines and Terms of Use from our app.”

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GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 14: Flowers are seen at the Avalon apartment building in Surfers Paradise where a woman fell to her death from a balcony. Police are appealing for public assistant at Surfers Paradise Police Centre on August 14, 2014 in Gold Coast, Australia. The woman has been identified as 26-year-old Warriena Tagpuno Wright from New Zealand. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 14: Marreza Wright (R) speaks to media with a family friend in relation to the death of a her sister who fell from a balcony at Surfers Paradise apartment building. They are appealing for public assistant at Surfers Paradise Police Centre on August 14, 2014 in Gold Coast, Australia. The woman has been identified as 26-year-old Warriena Tagpuno Wright from New Zealand. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 14: Marreza Wright speaks to the media in relation to the death of a her sister who fell from a balcony at Surfers Paradise apartment building. They are appealing for public assistant at Surfers Paradise Police Centre on August 14, 2014 in Gold Coast, Australia. The woman has been identified as 26-year-old Warriena Tagpuno Wright from New Zealand. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 14: Regional Crime Coordinator for the South Eastern Police Region, Detective Superintendent Dave Hutchinson speaks to media in relation to the death of a woman who fell from a balcony at Surfers Paradise apartment building. They are appealing for public assistant at Surfers Paradise Police Centre on August 14, 2014 in Gold Coast, Australia. The woman has been identified as 26-year-old Warriena Tagpuno Wright from New Zealand. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 14: Marreza Wright (R) speaks to media with a family friend in relation to the death of a her sister who fell from a balcony at Surfers Paradise apartment building. They are appealing for public assistant at Surfers Paradise Police Centre on August 14, 2014 in Gold Coast, Australia. The woman has been identified as 26-year-old Warriena Tagpuno Wright from New Zealand. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 14: General view of the Avalon apartment building in Surfers Paradise where a woman fell to her death from a balcony. Police are appealing for public assistant at Surfers Paradise Police Centre on August 14, 2014 in Gold Coast, Australia. The woman has been identified as 26-year-old Warriena Tagpuno Wright from New Zealand. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 14: General view of the Avalon apartment building in Surfers Paradise where a woman fell to her death from a balcony. Police are appealing for public assistant at Surfers Paradise Police Centre on August 14, 2014 in Gold Coast, Australia. The woman has been identified as 26-year-old Warriena Tagpuno Wright from New Zealand. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 16: Lawyer Michael Purcell representing Gable Tostee is seen outside the Southport Magistrate Court. Gable Tostee has been charged with the murder of Warriena Wright at Southport Magistrate Court on August 16, 2014 in Gold Coast, Australia. New Zealander tourist, Warriena Wright, died on Friday 8 August allegedly from a balcony fall at an apartment building in Surfers Paradise. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 16: Lawyer Michael Purcell representing Gable Tostee is seen outside the Southport Magistrate Court. Gable Tostee has been charged with the murder of Warriena Wright at Southport Magistrate Court on August 16, 2014 in Gold Coast, Australia. New Zealander tourist, Warriena Wright, died on Friday 8 August allegedly from a balcony fall at an apartment building in Surfers Paradise. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 14: Regional Crime Coordinator for the South Eastern Police Region, Detective Superintendent Dave Hutchinson and Marreza Wright arrive to speak to media in relation to the death of her sister who fell from a balcony at Surfers Paradise apartment building. They are appealing for public assistant at Surfers Paradise Police Centre on August 14, 2014 in Gold Coast, Australia. The woman has been identified as 26-year-old Warriena Tagpuno Wright from New Zealand. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 14: Marreza Wright arrives to speak to media in relation to the death of a her sister who fell from a balcony at Surfers Paradise apartment building. They are appealing for public assistant at Surfers Paradise Police Centre on August 14, 2014 in Gold Coast, Australia. The woman has been identified as 26-year-old Warriena Tagpuno Wright from New Zealand. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
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The app also works on ensuring user safety with the Match Group Advisory Council, a group dedicated to fighting sexual violence. The council, as the name suggests, is overseen by Match Group, which owns Tinder along with other dating sites that include Match.com, Hinge, OkCupid and PlentyOfFish.

Its aim is to seek guidance from experts, such as #MeToo movement founder Tarana Burke, on addressing and preventing assault.

In the past, Zimmerman has faced allegations of molestationand stalking. In 2017, he threatened to “beat” rapper Jay-Z for working on a docuseries about Martin, warning in a clear reference to the killing of the 17-year-old that “I know how to handle people who fuck with me, I have since February 2012.” 

Screengrabs published online last week by Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, a news outlet serving the Florida city, showed Zimmerman using a phony alias on the app, calling himself “Carter” and professing to be an outdoorsy adventurer “looking for carefree, fun!”

“I’m also down for a quiet night with Longhorn takeout,” his bio read.

Tinder isn’t the first dating site to reject Zimmerman ― he was also kicked off Bumble earlier this year for the second time, The Orlando Sentinel reported.

“George Zimmerman was blocked and banned in December 2018 when we first discovered his profile and we have blocked and banned him again after we were informed by our users that he had created a new unverified profile,” a company spokesperson told the newspaper. 

Zimmerman, now 35, became the focus of national notoriety for shooting Martin in the chest on Feb. 26, 2012 in Sanford, Florida. Martin was returning from a convenience store to the home of his father’s fiancée when Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, reported him as a suspicious person to the local police. As Zimmerman followed Martin, a confrontation developed between the two and Zimmerman shot the teen.

The case seemed to many a classic example of racial profiling. But Zimmerman claimed self-defense and argued that Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law justified the shooting. A jury found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in 2013.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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