Dating App CEO Arrested Over Promotion of Prostitution, Wait, Just One of Them?

Sugarbook had a simple premise: Link younger women up with wealthy older men who could finance their lifestyle in exchange for a little companionship. Adorable. Who could possibly find anything remotely sleazy about that? Well, apparently the Malaysian government. Because after deciding that Sugarbook was basically a soft front for large-scale prostitution, the puritanical moralists shut down the site and arrested 34-year-old CEO, Darren Chan. Twice.

After launching in 2016, the dating app had no run-ins with authorities until earlier this month, when Sugarbook made the mistake of gloating that thousands of new female students had joined the site from elite colleges around the country (referring to them as Sugarbabies). We’re not sure whether it was the thought of a new generation of unsuspecting sex workers that did it or the untoward language Chan used, but the boast caught the attention of the repressed Malaysian government who stepped in to immediately curtail what they deemed a cultural aberration.

After multiple arrests, Chan had no choice but to agree. “We believe that our Malaysian government knows what’s best for the people,” he said in a statement. “Although we do not have any form of nudity, adult content nor prostitution.”

Now, the place “where romance meets finance” via “sugar relationships” where consenting adults can “define what they want in a relationship in exchange for financial support” is no more. Oh yeah, except in Singapore, Thailand, and the United States, where Sugarbook continues to thrive. In case you were wondering, the biggest growth sector for “sugar relationships” is in Florida where the average allowance for a “Sugarbaby” between the ages of 18-26 is $3,000 per month.

Which brings us to the moral of our story. God Bless America, the land where most app developers and social tech companies don’t have to take responsibility for their products. Because in this country, we’re old enough to make our own bad decisions, thank you very much, especially when we have student loan debt piling up in our mailbox and a flaccid economy that no amount of Viagra can prop up.

So as we scroll through dating app after dating app looking for our next match, we only have one question left: When is the beta version of Cougarbook coming out?

Cover Photo: PeopleImages (Getty Images)

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