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OKCupid Removes Question Asking If People With Low IQs Should Be Allowed to Reproduce

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On Monday, after nine months of petitioning, OKCupid, a free dating website, removed a question asking if people with low IQs should be allowed to reproduce.

According to OKCupid, the site hosts questions meant to help users determine who they want to date, thereby allowing users to filter their matches based on the way people reply.

A petition started by Mencap – a U.K. nonprofit advocating for those with learning disabilities — asked the dating website to take down the question, calling it “inappropriate, offensive and discriminatory.” 

“I have a learning disability. I am also married and thinking about maybe having children in the future,” Cierra Lawrence, campaigns support officer at Mencap, wrote in the petition. “According to OkCupid, the world might be a better place if I didn’t.”

While OKCupid removed the question, they stood by their original decision to post the question. “While Mencap may be well-intentioned, they are speaking out against an organization that shares their aim of promoting the interests of people who have been discriminated against,” OKCupid’s CEO Elie Seidman said, stating that the questions do not reflect OKCupid’s editorial point of view.

Rather, Seidman said, the questions make it possible to identify those who might have hateful opinions. “If you do not want to date someone who has hate towards a marginalized group (and we hope that you don’t), we make that possible,” he said, adding:

We believe that challenging and pressuring OkCupid because we enable members to provide what many may feel are offensive answers to certain questions does not make sense. In fact, it should be the objective of groups who sometimes suffer prejudice to bring people’s discriminatory views into the open  —  something our question and answer system accomplishes.

On Tuesday, Lawrence thanked the company for removing the question, adding, “Whilst there is cause for celebration, the fact that it took a year to get this result shows how far we still have to go in changing attitudes towards people with a learning disability.”

Originally published: February 14, 2017
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