Badoo Walks Fine Line With Its Sexed-Up Office Parties

Strippers and body paint attract both attention, potential controversy
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2017 1:21 PM CDT
Bloomberg reports Badoo's parties have featured scantily clad models who use their bodies as sushi platters, as in this stock image.   (Getty Images/HHLtDave5)

(Newser) – In the competitive world of tech-industry recruitment, it can take creativity, innovative thinking, and a solid dose of temptation to compete. Take Badoo, the self-described “dating-focused social network” that launched in 2006 and that now boasts more than 300 million users in 190 countries. In the company’s home city of London, Badoo is known less for its app than its wild parties, which, according to Bloomberg, the company uses as a tool to lure in new additions to its 400-member staff. These highly sexualized parties have become infamous, often featuring strippers, scantily clad women posing as mermaids, and models wearing nothing more than body paint or acting as sushi platters. While they typically cost $25,000 to $45,000, the annual Christmas celebration can run to $385,000, while a recent event in Paris cost nearly $2 million. In fact, the company has two employees whose sole task is to manage parties.

And while these parties are succeeding in spreading Badoo’s reputation for hedonism and online innovation—the “freemium” service Wired called a “mass phenomenon” back in 2011 makes money by charging app users who want more visibility or search results—there has been some backlash. According to current and former employees, staff members have lodged HR complaints over the parties and the company’s office culture in general, and a few have resigned. But Badoo founder and CEO Andrey Andreev says the parties are designed not to discourage staffers but to reward them. Some, he points out, are even family-friendly, like the Mad Hatter-themed celebration profiled by Business Insider UK last year. "Themes and entertainment are selected by our employees, both males and females, and based on their suggestions and feedback," Andreev says. (Read more Badoo stories.)

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