Stop poisoning our communities with your marriage break-up adverts - an open letter to Ross Williams, CEO of Global Personals
By Jon Kuhrt
first published on http://jonkuhrt.wordpress.com/
Dear Ross Williams,
You are a successful entrepreneur who has won prestigious awards for developing your company, Global Personals as a leader in on-line dating websites. Most of what you and your company does is positive - you help bring people together. I have quite a few friends who have found their partners through on-line dating.
But there is a far darker side to your company's work. Global Personals run and promote websites which specifically target married people, encouraging and facilitating them to have affairs and cheat on their partners. In doing so, your business helps ruins relationships, destroys families and harms the lives of children. With the challenges that the UK currently faces, I think what you are doing is a disgrace and I think you know it.
You will remember that last year, I started a campaign to stop your public advertising after I, along with my young children, saw a huge billboard near where we live promoting one of your 'marital affair' websites. You agreed to withdraw the advert after hundreds of people contacted your offices but an inevitable side effect was that we gave your website itself lots of publicity.
A year and a half on, public adverts for another one of your marriage break-up websites have again appeared on public billboards in, among other places Harlesden, Greenwich, Surbiton and Dorset. Obviously advertising the name of the site is what you want, so rather than give the url of the site I have reproduced what your company states on the site:
We always believe that you can meet likeminded people who are looking to have an affair, when divorce is not an option…With 365 days a year and 1000's of local members who want to have an affair, get out there and have some fun... because life is too short!
This website is run by Global Personals Limited, a UK company specializing in the development of online dating websites for the singles community.
Of course people have personal responsibility for their own actions and people will always have affairs. But websites like yours promote the idea of being unfaithful and profit from it. You are a like a drug dealer who promotes what they are pushing as harmless when really they are trading in something deadly and destructive.
The real cost of your websites
I have a friend who lives locally, who has three children, whose ex-husband had an affair using a similar website. She said:
"my ex-husband had three affairs through sites like these. He would not have had the nerve to start an affair from meeting someone in a bar. The websites helped him step over that line."
This is not about being old fashioned or spoiling people's fun. This is about protecting what's important in our society and standing up for the values of honesty, decency and faithfulness. As I have seen with friends and through my work with homeless people, affairs ruin lives as well as marriages, they create poverty and they are disastrous for children. Almost everyone agrees that family breakdown was one of the key factors in the recent riots in the UK.
What we want you to do
You are the boss, or 'the big cheese' as your website puts it, and you have a choice about the kinds of websites you develop and promote. From what I have read about you, you are someone who cares about their reputation and wants to feel good about what you do. I am sure its the same for your senior colleagues. And after what happened to the News of the World, I am sure you are aware of how quickly brands can become toxic.
I think your company, Global Personals is involved in toxic work. So from today I am asking my friends to phone your offices and ask to speak to your senior colleagues to tell them about how affairs have affected their friends or family and to ask you to withdraw your adverts. We want you to withdraw your adverts and agree to not publicly advertise these kinds of websites again.
Although we want people to be polite and reasonable when they contact you, we do want you to know that we are serious about this. If you choose to try and disrupt marriages to make money then we will try to disrupt your business. Your adverts are helping to poison our communities. We want to show that belief in strong relationships and commitment is as powerful as your aim to make money by creating misery for families and children.
Global Personal's office number is +44 (0)1753 27 12 80
- Ross Williams, CEO and Founder;
- Steve Pammenter, Co-Founder and Director of Partnerships;
- Barry Frost, Technical Director;
- Darren Damiano, Finance Director;
- Matthew Pitt, Operations Director;
- Jess Dimsdale, Customer Care Manager;
Postal address is: Global Personals Limited, Minton Place, Windsor, SL4 1EG, United Kingdom.
Jon Kuhrt works with people affected by homelessness, offending and chronic addictions at the West London Mission. He, his wife and three children are part of Streatham Baptist Church and he is a member of the Christians on the Left. He likes football…but loves cricket.