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A dating website for Trump supporters was apparently using a convicted sex offender to promote its promise to make “dating great again.”
Barrett and Jodi Riddleberger, a North Carolina couple and Tea Party activists, were chosen to be the faces of the site that launched right in time for Valentine’s Day. The site restricted registration to only those who identified as “straight man” or “straight woman” and allowed users to boast their brand of whiteness by choosing a very specific ethnicity from the options “Scandinavian,” “Mediterranean,” “Eastern European,” and “Western European.” While the site clearly had no room for non-cisgendered people, new reports highlight the fact that it had plenty of space for a convicted sex offender.
North Carolina news station WRAL reported on Monday that Barett was convicted of taking indecent liberties with a child in 1995. Then 25 years old, he made a sex tape of himself and a 15-year-old girl. Riddleberger’s offense is publicly listed on the state’s Department Of Public Safety site.
“I’ve already paid my debt for something I did 25 years ago,” Riddleberger reportedly told WRAL and would not comment further on the “past.”
The dating site has since adopted new faces, replacing the Riddlebergers’ photo with another brightly smiling pair of white folks. Hopefully, the site had a better vetting process for these two.
Correction 2:20pm CT: An earlier version of this article suggested Trump Dating wouldn’t allow users who aren’t white. The registration form includes options for Black, Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Polynesian people in addition to its various options for white.
Tiffanie Drayton is a geek culture and lifestyle reporter whose work covers everything from gender and race to anime and Xbox. Her work has appeared in Complex, Salon, Marie Claire, Playboy, and elsewhere.