A new pro-Trump dating app backed by right-wing tech billionaire Peter Thiel hasn’t even launched yet, but it’s already drawing a lot of opposition.
The Right Stuff, set to debut this month, was co-founded by former Trump bodyman and aspiring matchmaker Johnny McEntee, who recruited former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s sister to help launch the app.
Kayleigh’s sister, Ryann McEnany, is particularly suited to the job. She has 146,000 Instagram followers — mostly young conservatives — and has been tasked with a particularly difficult task: convincing attractive, conservative women to subscribe.
Her basic pitch is a mix of flattery and exclusivity, according to Instagram messages verified by The Daily Beast: “Hi, I’m working with John McEntee’s team on an exclusive conservative dating app called The Right Stuff, which is expected to launch this Summer comes to market! We’d love to add you to our list for early access to the app.”
But despite the goal of recruiting female Capitol Hill employees and right-wing politicians, the startup is already struggling with some problems.
For one, a lawsuit is brewing with another dating service, also called The Right Stuff.
The fact that “The Right Stuff” has existed for more than two decades has nothing to do with conservative politics.
According to Michael Feigin, an attorney working on the case, the company plans to send a cease and desist letter to the Thiel-backed operation. The existing “dating service is for people with higher education, and a lot of them are leftists, so they don’t like the confusion,” he said.
The founder of the original dating app The Right Stuff, Dawne Touchings, claimed to The Daily Beast that she owns the trademark for the “same name” that the conservative dating app poached. “There’s a lot of other really good right-wing names that they could choose,” she said. “They are very clever, I’m sure they could come up with something!”
“I have an attorney and he’s contacting her,” Touchings continued. “That is my incorporated name.”
The Daily Beast independently confirmed that there was a trademark application for the name, but could not confirm that the application had been approved.
However, another problem is getting users. Rather than pulling singles, the app has largely drawn mockery so far, according to Republican activists who spoke to The Daily Beast.
Two Republican staffers in Washington, DC, said many young conservative women ignored McEnany’s contact and instead sneered at screenshots of their messages to group chats.
Other Republican staffers in Washington, D.C. — the kind who brag about having drinks at the Navy Yard Watering Hole Mission and claim their pronouns are “yee” and “haw” on their Instagram profiles — told The Daily Beast that the app has problems in a number of ways, like liberals posing as right-wingers and the uneasy potential of pairing them with conservative staffers they already know.
“These are all Mitch McConnell associates,” said a Republican agent, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she still works in pro-Trump politics.
But the same conservative agent invited to the app by McEnany said the swamp launch — the MAGA nickname for Washington, DC — was a mistake.
“If they just start in DC, good luck,” she said. “I think they would be better off starting in other parts of the country,” she added, suggesting deeper red states like Florida and Texas.
McEnany and McEntee did not respond to requests for comment, nor did a Thiel representative or attorneys who have represented him and other Thiel companies in the past.
Even before its launch, The Right Stuff — not to be confused with the White Nationalist-affiliated site of the same name — has already sparked other controversies. Following the release of a promotional video McEnany directed in August, the company was mocked on Twitter for its fixation on making a right-wing dating-safe space pronoun-free.
The invite-only app will reportedly only allow straight matches at launch. As pointed out by the LGBTQ+ website Them, Thiel – who is gay – is therefore funding a product that he would not be able to use. It remains to be seen whether the app will catch on; other right-leaning startups like Truth Social, Righter, and AlignPay, could not fully compete with their mainstream counterparts.
There were other reasons for skepticism. “I have a feeling it might be prone to trolling,” a Republican staffer told The Daily Beast.
She also questioned why The Right Stuff was even necessary. “You can meet other conservatives on regular dating apps. It’s something you can filter by,” she noted. Established apps, including Bumble, have long offered their users the ability to filter out potential matches based on political leanings.
Others have said they are concerned about narrowing their potential dating pool, particularly in the politically incestuous DC area.
“I don’t necessarily want the world I work in to know about my dating status,” a DC reporter for a conservative publication told The Daily Beast.
The same reporter in The Right Stuff’s target demographic lamented that dating apps go against “traditional” conservatism. “The internet seems to disrupt biological tendencies, like men courting women,” she said. “It’s not like Alexa telling you the weather. You can’t turn the natural mating process on its head and call it traditional.”
Meanwhile, Savannah Dudzik, an unpaid pre-launch app ambassador who lives in Tampa, Fla., who met the startup’s representatives at a Turning Point USA meeting, added that historically she has not used dating apps (like Catholic Match). liked, partly because of men on the platform just wanting to connect. She’s hoping for a more positive experience with The Right Stuff — serious romances only — and is excited to see how it goes. “I think this will be a hit!” said Dudzik.
Except there’s a catch: Dudzik hopes the app will ban right-wing men on the platform looking for “connections.”
For her part, McEnany has also been busy promoting other right-wing causes. In recent days, she has been campaigning for a Google alternative that highlights “censored” stories and posted a glowing post picture by MyPillow guy Mike Lindell and shared a movie scene with a Mexican mariachi band – in a derisive reference to the Venezuelan migrants who were allegedly flown to Martha’s Vineyard under false pretenses by Florida officials.
Apparently, The Right Stuff believes that its users are attracted to — or at least not alienated from — this type of ideology.
In one of his video ads, which harks back to 1950s values, three actresses satirize the “crazy” world of modern dating, including fictional men who don’t want children for environmental reasons, and ask on a date to pay for a meal after they forgot their gift card in a fanny pack and show up on a date on a bike.
“Download The Right Stuff today,” the ad concludes, “and start dating regular guys.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/women-turned-off-by-billionaire-peter-thiels-conservative-dating-app-the-right-stuff?source=articles&via=rss Women put off by billionaire Peter Thiel’s conservative dating app The Right Stuff