COPENHAGEN – An exclusive online meeting place billed as a dating website for "beautiful men and women" was causing new outrage Monday after dumping 30,000 members deemed too ugly.
Last month Beautifulpeople.com was the victim of a cyber attack in which the Shrek virus -- named after the ugly animated character -- attacked the software used to screen applicants, allowing an influx of new members, The Guardian reported.
Unfortunately several thousand of those members failed to meet the Denmark-based site's aesthetic standards, and have now been dropped.
Such is the level of fury, the site's operators have set up a counseling helpline to ease the pain of rejection.
"We have to stick to our founding principles of only accepting beautiful people -- that's what our members have paid for," BeautifulPeople.com's Greg Hodge told The Guardian. "We can't just sweep 30,000 ugly people under the carpet."
The website works on a system under which members are able to rank applicants on a beauty scale. The decision to reject 30,000 cost the company more than $100,000 in refunds and Hodge sent a regretful email to the distressed dumpees.
Hodge said the company was investigating the cyber attack, adding he suspected a disgruntled former employee may have planted the virus.
The ugly members cull is not the first time the site has courted controversy, news.com.au reported. In January this year it asked 5,000 users to reapply after they posted pictures of themselves looking chubbier than usual celebrating the festive season.
And earlier this month it sparked controversy in Ireland by declaring that Irish men were among the world's ugliest.