The dating website BeautifulPeople.com has purged over 30,000 "ugly" members from its system after a virus attack allowed people to join the site without having their looks evaluated.
"We got suspicious when tens of thousands of new members were accepted over a six-week period, many of whom were no oil painting," said Greg Hodge, managing director of BeautifulPeople.com.
The culprit? A virus named "Shrek" that site administrators believe a former employee planted in the system before leaving the job in May.
Usually, applicants to the dating website must first be approved by members of the opposite sex within a 48-hour period of registering, Hodge explained to The Christian Post.
Those whose appearances receive a majority of positive votes are welcomed as official members to the site and people who failed to attract enough votes from their looks are booted from the site, he said.
"Beautifulpeople.com is founded upon a basic principle that we want to be with someone who we find attractive. We gave the power to the members to let them define beauty in a very democratic way," Hodge told CP.
Rejects of the site are notified by email that members of BeautifulPeople.com did not find their profile attractive enough.
Hodge said that after the hack attack, over 35,000 people were accepted into the site without going through the rating system.
After site administrators remedied the virus attack by moving all unauthorized users back to the rating system, only 5,000 were deemed beautiful or handsome enough to join.
The other 30,000 were purged from the site, which refunded over $100,000 in membership fees.
The breakdown of people deemed too "ugly" to join were: USA: 11,924; UK: 3,156; Brazil: 2,911; France: 2,340; Canada: 1,220; Germany: 1,205; Australia: 1,093; Japan: 998; Russia: 840; Denmark: 470.
"We have sincere regret for the unfortunate people who were wrongly admitted to the site and who believed, albeit for a short while, that they were beautiful. It must be a bitter pill to swallow, but better to have had a slice of heaven then never to have tasted it at all," said Hodge in a statement.
Speaking to CP, he said that following the virus attack the site set up a helpline staffed with motivational speakers that listen to people who were denied membership vent their "bitter" frustration and anger.
BeautifulPeople.com, whose main offices are in Denmark, boasts over 700,000 members from 190 countries around the world.
When asked if the premise for the website was promoting superficiality, Hodge had no qualms acknowledging that the dating website is indeed for attractive people.
"It's not political correct to say but it's very honest. We all want to be romantically with someone that we find attractive. We don't walk into a room and point out a woman and say look at that woman's beautiful soul," he remarked.
Hodge also defended the BeautifulPeople.com website, pointing to other exclusive dating websites that limit membership to people of a certain color or religion.
"We get so much attention because people in our day and age are obsessed with beauty and we are becoming the lightning rod for that trend in society."