7:48pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Snapchat Accused of Misleading Investors in Ex-Employee's Lawsuit
An ex-Snapchat employee says the company is misleading investors to drive up its IPO and he was fired for being a whistleblower, according to a heavily redacted complaint filed Wednesday in L.A. County Superior Court.
Anthony Pompliano says "the avarice of the small group of executives at the helm" of Snapchat and his refusal to participate in the company's "institutional pandemic" of misrepresentation led to his unlawful termination. Exactly what kind of lies Pompliano claims Snapchat has been telling to investors is unclear because of the redactions — but he says similar statements convinced him to leave his role at Facebook.
"Snapchat fraudulently induced Mr. Pompliano away from Facebook to run Snapchat's new user growth and engagement team by falsely representing to him, among other things, the Company's growth," writes attorney David Michaels in the complaint.
Snapchat's vp communications Mary Ritti sent The Hollywood Reporter a statement Wednesday night: "We've reviewed the complaint. It has no merit. It is totally made up by a disgruntled former employee."
During his three weeks at Snapchat, Pompliano says he learned of the company's false representations and urged multiple executives to correct the problem. Further, Pompliano now believes he was only hired in an effort to obtain Facebook's confidential and proprietary information. He says he was pressured to breach his nondisclosure agreements and "drew the ire of Snapchat's senior management" when he refused.
"Because the truth concerning Mr. Pompliano's termination was so potentially damaging to Snapchat's planned IPO, terminating him wasn't enough to ensure the public was kept in the dark," writes Michaels. "Accordingly, post-termination, Snapchat has sought to destroy his career and reputation by waging a smear campaign against Mr. Pompliano, by making false representations concerning the circumstances of his termination."
Pompliano is suing Snapchat for misrepresentation preventing a former employee from obtaining employment. According to the complaint, he launched the dispute in confidential arbitration per his agreement with the company — but he felt it necessary to sue to keep his reputation in tact during those proceedings. He's seeking an injunction to keep Snapchat employees from making any misrepresentations about his termination to third parties and for exemplary damages.
The lawsuit is posted in full below.