When Raya launched as the elite members-only dating app in 2015, it vowed to provide singles with the utmost privacy and exclusivity — a move that earned it the nickname ‘celebrity Tinder,’ and saw dozens of stars flocking to sign up.
But six years later, the celebrity-loved dating app has hit a snag thanks to another popular app: TikTok, where members are now outing their A-list matches by publicly posting their cringe-worthy private messages for millions of people to view.
In the last few weeks alone, Matthew Perry, 51, and Ben Affleck, 48, have had to suffer the humiliation of having the video chats they allegedly had with young women they met on the elite app shared on TikTok as part of a growing trend.
Their exposure contradicts the first rule of Raya which is, according to members, ‘not to talk about Raya.’
The app’s guidelines state that ‘every member is expected to follow our simple rules or respect, trust, and privacy,’ and its creators have put in place several security measures to ensure that those rules are closely observed by all members.
If users take a screenshot, they are sent a warning. A second offense can then see them booted from the app altogether. Any members who flout the privacy rules will also be removed — a rule that the app put into full effect when it kicked off member Kate Haralson, 20, after she exposed her conversations with Friends star Perry.
However, the recent exposure of A-list dating activities has proven that Raya’s strict regulations aren’t enough to stop its celebrity users from having their most intimate romantic lives thrust into the public eye.
The viral outings have raised questions over whether the app can continue to attract the same caliber of famous members, which are rumored to have included the likes of Cara Delevingne, Demi Lovato, Harry Styles, and many more.
Not so secret? Raya, an elite members-only dating app, is having issues with users going public with their celebrity matches
Shh! Raya states that ‘every member is expected to follow our simple rules or respect, trust, and privacy,’ and members who flout the rules will be removed
Any hopeful members looking to sign up for the app still have to face an extremely rigorous vetting process, and it has been reported that there is currently a waitlist of around 100,000 people.
The secretive dating app for ‘creatives’ requires potential members to fill out an application that includes their location, work, place of employment, and Instagram handle.
If they have any friends who are on the app, they can be used as referrals, however these simply serve as an added credential, and by no means guarantee that your application will be approved.
While the application is easy to fill out, getting approved is far more difficult. The New York Times reported in 2019 that Raya has an acceptance rate of about 8 percent, making it slightly harder to get into than Harvard Business School.
The app explains that ‘applications are assessed based on algorithmic values and input from hundreds of committee members spread throughout the world.’
Decisions timelines range from one day to a few months, depending on the person, and members are required to pay $9.99 per month for membership fees.
Exclusivity has always been a key aspect of Raya. During an interview with the New York Times, its founder Daniel Gendelman, 37, said that he always intended it to be used by a niche, and very elite crowd, explaining that he wanted to cater specifically to high-profile people, artists, and creatives.
Too late? Kate Haralson, the TikToker who shared Perry’s private video conversation with her earlier this week, revealed on Friday that she has been kicked of Raya
Cringe: Haralson, 20, shared a clip of the FaceTime conversation Perry, 51, allegedly had with her last May, claiming he asked her: ‘Am I as old as your dad?’
‘I tried to solve a big problem for a small amount of people,’ he said at the time, while insisting that acceptance to the app was not, as some assumed, based solely on extraordinary wealth, supermodel looks, and fame.
A number of celebrities have joined Raya over the years, likely drawn to its exclusivity, and its promise that all members will have the same expectation of privacy, though that hasn’t stopped several star from talking about their own experiences on the exclusive dating app.
Amy Schumer, 39, met her former boyfriend Ben Hanisch on Raya, while Drew Barrymore, 46, revealed last year on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen that she ‘got stood up by a guy who owned a restaurant’ after matching with him.
Though she didn’t name names, Barrymore said she saw so many celebrities swiping through Raya that it ‘was like looking through an Us Weekly.’
Paul Mescal, Sharon Stone, Channing Tatum, Owen Wilson, and Emilia Clarke are just some of the A-listers who have reportedly had memberships at one time or another.
Former Vanderpump Rules star Stassi Schroeder said that she got kicked off Raya in 2016 for dishing about matching with Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte. She later shared that she got removed not once, but twice for talking about it in interviews.
Busted: Earlier this week, Nivine Jay, 29, posted a video that Ben Affleck, 48, had allegedly sent her after she had turned him down on Raya thinking that his profile was fake
Real: Rumors that Affleck has been on the dating app following his divorce from Jennifer Garner in 2018 have been rife, though it was unclear up until now if it had been a fake profile
Weighing in: Chrissy Teigen shared her thoughts on the alarming trend on Twitter Thursday
Kate Haralson, the TikToker who shared Perry’s private video conversation with her earlier this week, revealed on Friday that she has been kicked of Raya.
‘I should have expected that would happen,’ Haralson, 20, told Page Six. ‘I feel fine about it. I never really used it anymore anyways.’
The personal assistant shared a now-deleted video on TikTok of her FaceTiming with Perry after they matched on the elite app last May, when she was 19.
‘When you match w Matthew Perry as a joke on a dating app and he facetimes you and plays 20 questions with you,’ she captioned the clip.
In the 16-second video, Perry is seen smiling as he asks his potential date, ‘Do you always play with your hair this much?’ to which she responds, giggling: ‘I guess so.’
Haralson told Page Six that she wanted to show how older men in Hollywood are ‘taking advantage’ of younger women on dating apps.
‘A lot of people were saying I’m a bully and mean for posting this, and it made me feel kind of bad, but at the same time, I feel like a lot of guys in Hollywood are talking to all these young girls and it’s something that I think a lot of people should be aware of,’ she told the outlet.
Raya fans: Before Amy Schumer, 39, was married, she met her former boyfriend Ben Hanisch on Raya
Whoops! Former Vanderpump Rules star Stassi Schroeder said that she got kicked off Raya in 2016 for dishing about matching with Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte
Candid: Drew Barrymore, 46, admitted she was stood up by a guy she met on the app. She said she saw so many celebrities on Raya that it ‘was like looking through an Us Weekly’
Haralson claimed the FaceTime exchange happened last May, which is when Perry is said to have briefly split with his current fiancée Molly Hurwitz, 29, whom he had been dating since 2018.
She said she had matched with other celebrities before but wouldn’t ‘ever talk to older guys.’ However, she thought talking to the Friends actor ‘would be funny.’
Haralson, who said she felt ‘uncomfortable’ at times during the call, alleged that Perry asked her at one point, ‘Am I as old as your dad?’ She claimed she told him he was only about a year older than her father, which he ‘laughed off.’
Elite: Raya founder Daniel Gendelman, 37, said that he always intended for the app to be restricted to a small, very niche group of users – noting that he wanted it to feel more like a dinner party than a dating app
‘I don’t think he minded that,’ she said. ‘It kind of felt weird talking to someone my dad’s age and it just felt not right, especially when he knew how young I was.’
However, Haralson said she decided to delete the video because she thinks Perry is a ‘nice guy.’ She stated that they never met up in person, though he allegedly told her that she could maybe one day ‘get a COVID test and come over.’
Halston said that she was ‘inspired’ by Nivine Jay, who posted a video that Affleck had allegedly sent her after she had turned him down on Raya thinking that his profile was a fake.
‘Thinking of the time I matched with Ben Affleck on Raya and thought it was fake so I unmatched him and he sent me a video on Instagram,’ Jay, 29, captioned her TikTok video about the experience.
In the Instagram video, the Batman V Superman actor is seen speaking directly to the camera, attempting to confirm his identity, as he asks: ‘Nivine, why did you unmatch me? It’s me.’
Rumors that Affleck has been on the dating app have been rife for the past couple of years, though it was unclear up until now if it had been a fake profile.
The actor officially divorced his ex-wife Jennifer Garner in 2018, and has enjoyed a few romances since then with SNL producer Lindsay Shookus and most recently actress Ana de Armas.
Famous faces: Channing Tatum (left) and Harry Styles (right) have allegedly used the exclusive dating app when they were single
Not for her: Sharon Stone recently explained why she won’t use the app anymore. ‘People kept pretending they were things they weren’t on Raya. Like straight,’ she said
It’s unclear if Jay has been removed from the app for calling out the star.
On Thursday, Chrissy Teigen weighed in on the worrying new trends for stars, as she tweeted: ‘I agree celebs shouldn’t be making these creepy desperate video replies on Raya but it’s tacky to release private messages. Ya both wrong, congrats.’
Whether the Perry and Affleck’s recent embarrassments have prompted other star Raya users to flee the app remains unclear; the dating site has yet to issue a comment on the matter, and, as ever, its membership is kept a closely-guarded secret.
However there is no doubt that its ability to offer its most high-profile members total privacy is currently in question, and it remains to be seen how, or if, the app will prevent any future breaches.
Still, membership on Raya remains a highly sought-after ‘asset’, although one current user admitted that this may well be due to the fact that joining the app has become something of a badge of honor among elitist circles.
‘Honestly, the people on the app don’t really appeal to me that much,’ the unnamed person said. ‘It’s a lot of guys boasting about how great they are, and oftentimes I’ll get matched with someone who is thousands of miles away from me, which seems a bit useless.
‘But it’s still something fun to talk about (privately!), and it makes me feel as though I’m a little bit special, even if that isn’t true at all.’
DailyMail.com has reached out to Raya for comment.
Raya: The VERY exclusive dating app which approves only 8% of applications
Raya is often described as the celebrity version of Tinder, as the dating app requires a membership and a vetting process, which is enticing to big movie stars.
The app – which launched in 2015 by Mike McGuiness, who at the time was a partner at Los Angeles PR company the Co-Op Agency, and Daniel Gendelman – describes itself as being ‘an exclusive dating and networking platform for people in creative industries.’
Users must be referred by an existing member and their application will then be voted on by a membership committee.
Only about 8% of applicants are reportedly approved.
In addition to subscription fees of $9.99 a month, the company also charges for sponsored placement of user requests.
Little is known about Raya, but in late 2016 it acquired video messaging startup Chime led by Jared Morgenstern, who was part of Facebook in the early days.
Morgenstern, who was Raya’s first investor, told TechCrunch: ‘Raya is a utility for introducing you to people who can change your life. Soho House uses physical space, we’re trying to use software.’
Other stars rumored to have used the service include Moby, Lily Allen, Cara Delevingne, Raven-Symoné, Tommy Lee, Whitney Cummings and Chelsea Handler.