Popular gay men’s hook-up apps Jack’d and Grindr have issued statements on reports that Orlando club killer Omar Mateen had profiles on their platforms.
Two men have separately told MSNBC and Los Angeles Times that Mateen had tried to contact them in recent months via hook-up apps.
One, Kevin West, told Los Angeles Times that he’d been speaking to Mateen on Jack’d for over a year.
The other, Cord Cedeno, told MSNBC that he recognized Mateen from Grindr: ‘I recognize him from one of the apps. But I instantly blocked him because he was very creepy in his messages. I blocked him immediately. Yeah, I recognize him off Grindr.’
In the last hour, Jack’d has posted a statement on its Facebook page which simply reads: ‘We are deeply saddened by the loss of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters in Orlando.
‘At this time, we cannot confirm nor deny reports of an alleged profile of Omar Mateen. Should the claims be substantiated, it is our policy to cooperate with law officials.’
Gay Star News has reached out to Jack’d – owned by Online Buddies, Inc – for further comment.
In response to a request from GSN, a Grindr spokesperson said, ‘We will continue to cooperate with the authorities and do not comment on ongoing investigations.’
Earlier today, Grindr posted a statement about the Orlando killings on its official blog.
‘Our deepest sympathies go out to everyone affected.
‘A moment like this has the power to make us feel broken and powerless. But as we mourn our losses and try to understand how this could happen, we must also recognize how much work still has to be done.
‘Violence occurs against the LGBT community every day in every corner of the world. A significant amount of Grindr users live overseas, some in countries where being gay is still illegal. For those of us that live someplace with greater tolerance, this reality – and the reality of the violence that unfolded over the weekend – is difficult to imagine.
‘The stories we hear from these places haunt us. But for every Orlando or Syria or Indonesia, we keep count and we remember. And we will not stop until every queer identified individual is safe to live as any other. We owe it to our global community and ourselves to make that promise.
‘So remember to stand tall together. To move forward through the darkness. To ignite change everywhere.
‘We are equal, not afraid.’
Mateen killed 49 people before dying himself when he engaged in a mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub on Sunday morning, and 53 others were taken to hospital with injuries.
In an update from local health officials today, six people remain in intensive care.