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Bumble Backs Two New Online Sexual Harassment Bills, Hires VP Public Policy in Legislative Push

Bumble has hired its first ever public policy lead amid a push to replicate our legislative success in our home state of Texas in other states, starting with California and New York.

New Vice President for Public Policy Lisa Roman has joined us from Twitter, where she led engagement with industry, government, and civil society. Prior to tech policy, Lisa worked in the field of international peace and security, including at the United Nations, the White House, and the U.S. State Department. 

Her hiring comes as the company doubles down on efforts to press legislators across the country to make the unsolicited sending of lewd nude images punishable by law. We’re coming off the back of a big win in Texas, where Bumble is headquartered. In 2019, after a year working closely with politicians from both sides of the aisle, we celebrated the Texas Senate’s unanimous passing of House Bill 2789. Now, the sending of a lewd photo without the recipient’s consent is a Class C misdemeanor in Texas, punishable by a fine of up to $500. 

There remains no federal legislation to deter this sort of digital indecent exposure, so for now, Bumble’s going state by state in our bid to bring standards of conduct on the internet closer in line with our standards of behavior in the real world.

In December 2020, we sponsored SB 53 — also known as the FLASH (Forbid Lewd Activity and Sexual Harassment) Act — in the California State Senate. Reintroduced by Senator Connie M. Levya (D-Chino) after COVID put a February measure on hold, the FLASH Act would create an infraction, punishable by $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense, for knowingly transmitting unsolicited lewd or sexually explicit material online. The FLASH Act would also create a private right of action against any person who sends unsolicited lewd images without the recipient’s explicit consent.

In January 2021, a Bumble-backed bill that’d establish the unsolicited disclosure of an intimate image as a crime was introduced to the New York State Senate. 

As of January 2022, two more Bumble-supported bills that outlaw the sending of unsolicited lewd photos were introduced in Wisconsin and Virginia.

For more on why Bumble became involved in anti-sexual harassment legislation, see here.