A former Snap Inc. executive who accused CEO Evan Spiegel of saying Snapchat is “only for rich people” while fibbing about the app’s user numbers doesn’t want to be muzzled.
Anthony Pompliano, who claims he was fired for challenging user metrics issued by Snap in the buildup to its IPO this year, asserts the company forced him into signing an arbitration agreement designed to prevent a public airing of his case in court that’s so “one-sided” it’s unenforceable.
Papers filed in California federal court on Friday also assert Pompliano’s whistleblower claims cannot be arbitrated because they’re subject to provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
The agreement Pompliano says he signed under duress in August 2015 allegedly capped an aggressive recruiting campaign that induced him to leave Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook.
Pompliano says Snap flew him to its Los Angeles headquarters for interviews twice in one week — at the end of which he received a job offer and an arbitration agreement.
Snap’s recruiter told Pompliano “it was very important that he sign and return the documents the same day,” he says in his filing. “Accordingly, he was given no meaningful opportunity to consult with an attorney, or to negotiate the terms of the agreements.”
The tech exec, who was hired to run Snap’s user growth and management team, said he was fired after just three weeks because he refused to “participate in Snapchat’s misrepresentations.”
The company had been boasting 100 million daily active users — but the real number was as much 5 million below that, Pompliano claims.
He says his efforts to get management to stop misleading the public, investors and advertisers — before Snap became a public company — wound up costing him his job.
Among the explosive charges in the suit’s federal version was CEO Spiegel’s alleged response after Pompliano pointed out Snapchat had low user metrics in some countries with high social-media engagement.
“This app is only for rich people,” Pompliano claims Spiegel shot back. “I don’t want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain.”
Snap didn’t comment on Pompliano’s latest motion filed on Friday.
But in March it dismissed Spiegel’s alleged “rich people” remark as “ridiculous” and coming from a “disgruntled former employee.”