PinkNews ExclusiveA YouTube star has exposed the private profiles of Grindr users for an online prank.
Andrea Russett repeatedly showed men’s profiles to camera, un-pixelated, in the show.
Andrea and her co-host Rachel Scanlon also make a string of mocking comments about gay men’s sex lives and joke about “f***ing up someone’s life”.
The YouTuber, who has almost three million subscribers and four million Twitter followers, pulled the stunt in her show Andrea Russett’s Apologies Advance, which airs on paid streaming service Fullscreen.
One shocked viewer told PinkNews he felt the two women treated gay men “like zoo animals to be pointed and stared at”.
During the segment, co-host Rachel picks up an iPad and immediately opens its Grindr account to scroll through men’s profiles.
The men’s personal profiles and chats are clearly visible on screen in more than 30 shots, including face pictures and men’s torsos.
The two women then read aloud multiple private profiles, joking about what the terms “top” and “vers top” mean, as well as impersonating a gay sex position.
At one point a Grindr user replies to a message they have sent from account, when Rachel says: “Whose profile are they seeing? Because it’s not you!”
YouTuber Andrea later adds: “I wanna know whose f***ing profile he’s seeing.
“Because we’re f***ing up someone’s life right now!”
The two women agree to “take turns” messaging the genuine Grindr user, reading out messages to camera and joking about him wanting to have sex.
In a statement to PinkNews, the streaming service behind the show, Fullscreen, refused to apologise for the prank, saying: “This show is literally called Apologies in Advance, so viewers know to expect an edgy show that pushes some buttons.”
They also say the content of the show was the choice of the stars, not production.
Fullscreen founder George Strompolos told PinkNews: “Regarding the visibility of the profiles: while they are generally obscured, we take this matter seriously and are in the process of taking further measures to blur any visible profiles.
“Regarding the subject matter: Fullscreen provides an unrestricted environment for our talent to do what they want and say what they feel.
“As a network we are proud of our relationships with LGBT talent and the LGBT community.”
One viewer who spoke to PinkNews, but wished to remain anonymous, said the prank could put lives at risk.
“I couldn’t believe what I was watching.
“Those guys could be in the closet, they could be from conservative families, they could be visiting from countries where gay sex gets prison time.
“They just didn’t think about what they were doing and treated gay guys like a cheap joke.”
PinkNews also contacted Grindr for comment, as it is believed exposing the profiles publicly could violate the app’s terms of service.