Insiders reveal how celebrities are responding to recent dating app profile leaks

Ben Affleck (left) and Matthew Perry (right)
Ben Affleck and Matthew Perry (are two celebrities whose purported interactions were leaked online by people they matched with on dating apps.

  • Videos that appeared to show Matthew Perry and Ben Affleck matching with dating app users recently went viral.
  • Dating apps and celebrity advisors are dealing with increased concern over privacy and security.
  • Insider spoke to experts, celebrities, and influencers who explained how online dating is changing.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A string of videos that appear to show celebrities like Ben Affleck and Matthew Perry connecting with dating app users are sending chills through both the entertainment and dating app industries.

Since its launch in 2015, invite-only dating app Raya has advertised itself as an elite platform catering to the needs of celebrities. But in early May 2021, Nivine Jay, an actor and model, posted an explosive TikTok of a video purportedly sent to her by Ben Affleck after she says she unmatched with the actor on Raya. A few days later, Kate Haralson, a TikToker who is a personal assistant for reality TV stars Spencer and Heidi Pratt, similarly went viral by uploading a purported recording of a FaceTime session she said she had with Matthew Perry after matching with him on Raya in May 2020.

These incidents haven’t just happened on Raya. In early June, Twitter user @Stardewlegend posted purported screenshots of “iCarly” actor Jerry Taylor’s verified Bumble profile along with a tweet, “I did not expect dating in LA to be like this.”

These videos have made headlines and received millions of views on social media, shattering any assumption of privacy on dating apps. As dating apps adjust to the reality of leaking, the features and innovations they implement may have a broader impact not only on their most high-profile users, but also everyday people looking for the perfect match.

Insider talked to publicists, dating apps, matchmakers, and influencers to explore how these recent exposures could transform online dating.

Celebrity insiders and experts are more involved in their clients’ dating lives than they may seem

Kelly Cutrone standing with microphone
Publicist Kelly Cutrone.

Kelly Cutrone, the founder of People’s Revolution, a public relations agency, told Insider that celebrities using dating apps is a “bat—- crazy idea.” She said that publicists should generally stay out of their clients’ love lives, but that by using dating apps, celebrities were not just opening themselves up to potentially embarrassing scandals, but they were also making themselves vulnerable to people with bad intentions.

Don Aviv, the president of Interfor International, a security consulting service that works with celebrities, echoed Cultrone’s stance and said he advises high-profile people to avoid these apps altogether. He cited concerns over hacks, fraud, and scams, and argued that regardless of how the app advertises itself, online platforms come with too many risks.

Other experts signaled that they were adjusting to stars seeking love in the digital realm. Howard Bragman, a Hollywood crisis manager, told Insider he believes celebrities are drawn to these platforms because they offer the chance to meet people outside of the entertainment industry. Since stars can’t go to bars and nightclubs anonymously like civilians, they may relish the opportunity to find someone from the comfort of their home, he said.

“Celebrities are actual human beings who have feelings and would like to go out on dates and meet a loved one, so I don’t see any reason they should be denied that,” he said.

Bragman said his celebrity clients have told him about their dating app usage, so he’s prepared for the media fallout in the event of a leak. Matt Yanofsky, a PR and brand specialist, told Insider that in the past, he and other publicists have assisted with curating clients’ dating app profile pictures and interests and that in numerous cases, it’s become an extension of their job of managing a client’s public image.

Influencers and celebrities are moving away from dating apps and using social media to meet people instead

Some influencers have found ways to navigate public-facing apps. Kazzy, a YouTuber with almost 470,000 subscribers, told Insider he refuses to give out his phone number and personal address.

Similarly, Gwen Singer, an Instagram influencer, told Insider that on Bumble and Hinge she goes by an entirely different name, doesn’t link to her social media, and uses non-model photographs because of privacy concerns and to see if she can find a genuine connection without the anxiety that people are treating her differently.

A post shared by GWEN ⚡️ (@gwensinger)

“Let’s see if you’re really interested in talking to me and getting to know who I am,” she said.

Others are moving away from traditional dating apps entirely.

Comedian Ashwin Jacob said he used to prefer Raya when it was more “curated,” but that now, with more chats about networking and fears of being secretly recorded, Instagram is becoming the preferred dating app for many of his influencer friends.

TikToker Gene Park, who has over 460,000 followers, echoed Jacob’s sentiment that Raya has started to lose its allure. He said that for many influencers, Instagram’s direct messaging platform works as a dating app, although he’s dealt with catfishing and scamming attempts on it “multiple times.” He said he hoped ther was “another Raya that comes out soon, that is a lot more exclusive,” with a better filtering process.

According to reporting from The New York Times, in 2018 Raya had an 8% acceptance rate and there were 100,000 people still on the waiting list.

Raya did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

Security concerns on apps are changing the face of online dating

Regarding celebrities’ concerns over privacy, a Bumble spokesperson highlighted the app’s Incognito Mode. Included in Bumble Premium, a subscription service that comes with a myriad of features and costs $32.99 a month, Incognito Mode allows users to only be visible to other users whom they swiped right on.

While this may make the app feel more exclusive and curated, it doesn’t account for user behavior and hypothetically, Incognito matches are able to leak celebrity profiles to social media under the company’s current privacy policy.

Some apps are trying to solve this problem. Founded in late 2020, Lox Club, a members-only dating platform for Jewish people, has drawn some buzz and celebrity investors like Bhad Bhabie and Lil Yachty.

According to co-founder Alex Lorraine, there are “around 50,000 people” on the app’s waitlist. He cited his Lox Club’s security measures, such as suspending users who screenshot too many times, and making it easy for people to contact his app to report abusive behavior. Lorraine told Insider there haven’t been instances of leaks and believes that is thanks to the Lox Club’s highly selective curation process which maintains its culture of privacy.

“If you curate your community from the start, you get people that aren’t as willing to leak celebrity profiles,” he said.

Lizz Warner, the founder and CEO of Gleam, a video-chat dating app that is currently only available in Los Angeles and New York City, told Insider that she had discussed the possibility of celebrity leaks with her team of developers. On Gleam, users can only communicate via scheduled video chat dates that solely exist within the app, and later, if there’s compatibility, texts.

According to Warner, since the video chats live on the app and automatically turn off if someone starts a screen recording, it can potentially be helpful for celebrities who are concerned with privacy. She told Insider that in Los Angeles, a number of influencers have already joined.

Haralson, who leaked the purported video of Matthew Perry, said that while some people accused her of being the catalyst for Perry’s split with his then-fiance, which she refutes, others responded positively, telling her she was highlighting the dating dynamic of how “easy it is for young girls to be wooed by these older men with money.”

Multiple sources told Insider that they noticed that celebrities became more drawn to dating apps during the COVID-19 lockdown. As restrictions are lifted, dating will potentially go back offline, with people returning to mingling in dimly lit bars and parties. But these concerns of safety and privacy will surely persist, leaving an opening for the next crop of members-only apps to continue to sell the elusive promise of digital exclusivity.

To read more stories like this, check out Insider’s digital culture coverage here.

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J. Lo and Ben Affleck were spotted together in Montana, which is set to gain a new House seat in redistricting

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez
Ben Affleck, left, and Jennifer Lopez, right, are spending time together 17 years after they broke off their high-profile engagement

  • Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, engaged in the early 2000s, were spotted together in Montana.
  • Montana is gaining a seat in Congress after the 2020 census due to its population growth.
  • Like the former A-list couple, Montana will be receiving significant media attention.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Just as are all politics are local, according to a phrase coined by legendary former House Speaker Tip O’Neill of Massachusetts, all celebrity reunions can be connected in some way to politics.

Another well-known Massachusetts-raised celebrity, actor and director Ben Affleck, is reportedly rekindling a decades-old romance with fellow A-list actress and singer Jennifer Lopez, to whom he was engaged in 2003.

Page Six reported on April 30 that Affleck and Lopez, who recently split from former New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez, have been spending time together at Lopez’s Los Angeles home.

And on Monday, People Magazine and the Daily Mail reported that the two stars were seen on a getaway in Montana, where Affleck reportedly owns a ski house at the exclusive Yellowstone Club. The two were photographed in an SUV driving from the airport.

“[Jennifer] spent several days with Ben out of town. They have a strong connection. It’s all been quick and intense, but Jennifer is happy,” a source close to the couple told People.

Just like Affleck’s and Lopez’s romance, The Big Sky State will also be the subject of close scrutiny by the media in the coming months.

Montana is one of seven states that will gain one or more US House seats as a result of the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau announced on April 26.

The Constitution requires an official count of the US population once a decade. After the census counts are finalized, states are tasked with redrawing their congressional districts, a process known as redistricting, to adjust for the population changes. Each state is subject to gain and lose seats based on how fast their population increased or decreased relative to the other 49 US states.

Montana, currently an at-large district with just one representative, saw its population grow by 9.6% over the past decade. As a result, the state will gain another district to have two representatives in Washington for the first time in 30 years, according to the Montana Free Press.

The biggest winner in redistricting is Texas, which will gain two House seats. Along with Montana, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, and Oregon will all gain one US House seat each.

Affleck and Lopez first met two redistricting cycles ago in 2001 on the set of the film “Gigli,” according to a Popsugar timeline of their relationship, and started dating after Lopez ended her marriage with ex-husband Cris Judd, according to Lopez.

The couple, affectionately dubbed “Bennifer,” was a tabloid sensation in the early 2000s. The two also co-starred in “Jersey Girl,” and publicly announced their engagement in November of 2002. Affleck even appeared in Lopez’s iconic “Jenny from the Block” music video.

After announcing they would postpone their planned September 2003 nuptials due to the “excessive media attention surrounding our wedding,” the pair formally split in January 2004.

Shortly after, Lopez got together with Marc Anthony, who she married in 2004 and separated from in 2011. The two share twins, Max and Emme.

In 2005, Affleck married actress Jennifer Garner, with whom he had a decade-long marriage and three children. Affleck and Garner separated in 2015 and finalized their divorce in 2018. Affleck was most recently linked acttress Ana de Armas. The two broke up in January 2021.

Most recently, Lopez dated Rodriguez for four years and was engaged to the former athlete for two. The pair formally announced their breakup on April 15, nearly three months after Rodriguez accompanied Lopez for her performance of the national anthem at President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

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How to watch ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ – the 4-hour superhero epic is an HBO Max exclusive

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justice league
“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” will be twice as long as the original cut released in 2017.

  • “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” will debut on HBO Max on March 18.
  • Nicknamed the #SnyderCut, the film overhauls the 2017 release with roughly two hours of new footage.
  • The “Snyder Cut” won’t be released in theaters, so you need HBO Max ($15 a month) to watch.

Max (small)

HBO Max will premiere “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” on March 18; the result of a multi-year fan campaign to see the director’s vision of the DC Comics super team as he originally intended.

The DC Comics cinematic universe has struggled to garner the commercial success and acclaim enjoyed by Marvel movies, but Snyder’s grounded interpretations of iconic DC heroes, like Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, have found a dedicated fan base. Those tireless fans lobbied for years until Warner Bros. agreed to spend $70 million to create a new cut of “Justice League” based on Snyder’s original script.

The 2017 theatrical release of “Justice League” received a lukewarm reception from critics and fans of Snyder’s prior films in the DC universe. Though Snyder was in charge for the majority of the movie’s production, a series of personal tragedies, including the death of Snyder’s daughter, forced him to leave the project before it was complete.

Warner Bros. hired “Avengers” director Joss Whedon to complete “Justice League,” leading to substantial changes to the film’s story and reshoots for new scenes. Several cast members have spoken out against Whedon’s conduct on set, with Cyborg actor Ray Fisher vowing never to work on another film handled by DC Films President Walter Hamada, who oversaw an investigation into Whedon’s conduct after the movie was released.

Despite the completion of Snyder’s cut, the director told fans it’s unlikely that we’ll see a continuation of his “Justice League” franchise. Gal Gadot reprised her role as Wonder Woman in “Wonder Woman 1984” earlier this year, and Ezra Miller is expected to begin filming “The Flash” in April 2021. Robert Pattinson’s upcoming “The Batman” will not share a connection with “Justice League,” while Ta-Nehisi Coates and J.J. Abrams are reportedly working on a new “Superman” film.

How does ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ compare to the original?

“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” features several changes to the original film, including the addition of a significant appearance from the DC villain Darkseid, and a new look for the alien antagonist Steppenwolf.

Cyborg, a hero introduced to DC films in “Justice League,” is said to play a crucial role in the revised story as well. Snyder has also revealed the appearance of Batman’s nemesis the Joker, played by Jared Leto.

Snyder says his version of “Justice League” won’t be using any of the reshoot material directed by Joss Whedon, but it will be adding tons of new footage to match his original script. Snyder’s “Justice League” will reportedly run four hours, roughly twice as long as the original. Snyder also hinted that the film could end on a cliffhanger, since he intended it to be part of a series of movies, like “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.”

How to watch ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ on HBO Max

“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” will debut on HBO Max on March 18. It’ll be available for unlimited viewing as part of an HBO Max subscription for $15 a month. Most HBO cable subscribers can also access HBO Max through their TV provider account at no extra cost.

You can stream HBO Max in your browser, or download the HBO Max app on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple devices, Android, Xbox, PlayStation, and many smart TVs.

HBO Max just started making movies available in 4K resolution with HDR contrast earlier this year, along with Dolby Atmos audio. It’s unclear whether “Justice League” will support those features as of yet, but you can check the list of compatible 4K devices to make sure yours is on the list.

What else is coming to HBO Max?

Beyond “Justice League,” Warner Bros. has been bringing all of its new theatrical releases to HBO Max during 2021. Other films available right now include “Tom & Jerry” and “Judas and the Black Messiah.”

The next movies scheduled for release are “Godzilla vs. Kong” on March 31 and “Mortal Kombat” on April 16. The more kid-friendly “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” starring LeBron James and the Looney Tunes, is scheduled to hit HBO Max on July 16.

We’ve also put together a full list of every upcoming Warner Bros. movie scheduled to hit theaters and HBO Max in 2021.

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How Ben Affleck became an accidental Dunkin’ influencer

ben affleck dunkin
Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas take a stroll, with a cup of Dunkin’ iced coffee, in July.

  • Ben Affleck’s love for Dunkin’ proved a constant through the unpredictable and stressful 2020. 
  • The actor appeared in countless paparazzi photos with his trusty Dunkin’ iced coffee at his side, cementing the connection between him and the iconic coffee chain. 
  • Drayton Martin, Dunkin’s vice president of brand stewardship, told Business Insider that the chain does not have any official partnership with Affleck, calling him a “true lover of the brand.” 
  • Instead, Ben Affleck seems to have become an accidental Dunkin’ influencer, lighting up the internet with his genuine love for the coffee chain. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In a year of uncertainty and stress, there has been one constant: Ben Affleck’s love for Dunkin’. 

Affleck, who claims to drink Dunkin’ every day, has had two constant partners during the pandemic: his girlfriend and fellow actor Ana de Armas, and a cup of Dunkin’ iced coffee. As many celebrities stayed out of sight, Affleck appeared in countless paparazzi photos with his trusty Dunkin’ at his side.

The final days of 2020 brought one last Affleck-Dunkin’ sighting. Paparazzi caught Affleck, decked out in Boston gear, fumbling an order of iced coffees and Munchkins on the doorstep of his California home. The photos went viral, as photos of Affleck and Dunkin’ are wont to do. 

 

“Ben Affleck is a pap favorite,” Bobby Finger and Lindsey Weber, hosts of the celebrity podcast Who Weekly, told Business Insider in an email. According to the hosts, Affleck is known for just being himself, “a dude from Boston.” 

“And aside from the Red Sox and clam chowder, Dunkin’ Donuts is as Boston as it gets,” Finger and Weber added. 

Affleck’s appreciation for Dunkin’ isn’t new. But, over the last few years, his love for the chain has transcended from a quirky talk show talking point to a sort of cultural touchstone. 

ana de armas and ben affleck
Affleck and de Armas in April.

 When Dunkin’ announced it was closing locations earlier this year, Jezebel asked: “What Does Ben Affleck Think About Dunkin Donuts Closing 450 Stores?”

A social media rumor sparked a Vulture investigation into if Dunkin’ keeps Affleck’s order on file. (Conclusion: Dunkin’ says no, so, probably not?)

Affleck’s love for Dunkin’ has spawned endless tweets, further linking the actor and the chain.

Carrie Wittmer, a freelance writer who has tweeted about Affleck and Dunkin’ with some frequency, said she thinks of Affleck as an accidental Dunkin’ influencer. 

“I have always been a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee fan,” Wittmer said. “My parents are coffee snobs and Dunkin’ was one of the only fast food places they got coffee from and I usually have Dunkin’ coffee for my home brew.”

But, Wittmer said, Affleck has made her think about Dunkin’ even more than usual this year. 

As Affleck’s paparazzi shots with Dunkin’ proliferate, they have sparked questions regarding Affleck’s relationship with the chain. After all, Dunkin’ has rolled out some wild marketing in 2020, from a partnership with Homesick candles to a merch lineup that includes bedding and scrunchies. A sponsorship deal with Ben Affleck would not be out of the realm of possibility. 

Read more: How Dunkin’ stole Starbucks’ crown as king of social media in 2020 using TikTok stars, purple drinks, and coffee-scented candles

Is Affleck getting paid by the coffee chain as part of a stealth sponsorship deal? Or, does he just really love Dunkin’?  

Is Dunkin’ paying Ben Affleck to drink coffee? 

ben affleck dunkin ana de armas
Affleck and his Dunkin’ order in April.

We needed answers from Dunkin’, both about Affleck and some of the chain’s official marketing strategies. (Again, Dunkin’ successfully launched a $34 Homesick candle that smelled like coffee.) So, earlier in December, Business Insider spoke with Drayton Martin, Dunkin’s vice president of brand stewardship. 

Martin had a lot to say about Dunkin’s partnerships and marketing strategies, as the chain has worked to puncture potential customers’ perceptions of the brand. Dunkin’ has partnered with a number of celebrities, including rapper Snoop Dogg and TikTok star Charli D’Amelio. But, Martin said, it does not have any official partnership with Affleck.  

“He is a true lover of the brand and it is all his spontaneous expression,” Martin said.

“We love Ben Affleck. … He’s obviously from the Boston area and a terrific brand ambassador, but that’s his own doing,” she added. 

ben affleck dunkin
Affleck in March.

Martin’s answer lines up with Weber and Finger’s conclusion that “Ben just genuinely has gotta have his Dunkies.”

“If it’s all some sort of covert paid sponsorship, congrats to Ben,” they said. “But if there’s anything to know about doing ads, it’s that it’s basically work and work tends to ruin things you love! It appears that Ben truly still loves his java.” 

In other words, Affleck’s Dunkin’ obsession has become the best kind of free advertising. It is coming from someone that genuinely loves the brand, with a passion that won’t be tarnished by a paycheck. As a frequent paparazzi target, Affleck gives Dunkin’ more face time than celebrities who avoid photographers (or, who are more low key about their love for Dunkin’.)

Anecdotally, it’s a relationship that is paying off for Dunkin’. Finger said he has found himself craving Dunkin’ after seeing yet another paparazzi shot of Affleck with his iced coffee. (Weber said she is always craving Dunkin’.) And, while Whittmer said she would have bought the Dunkin’ Homesick candle without Affleck’s influence, the Affleck-Dunkin’ connection has made her appreciate both more in 2020. 

“I have always loved both, but I have never thought more about either,” Whittmer said. 

Read the full story of how Dunkin’ stole Starbucks’ crown as king of social media in 2020 here. 

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