Snap Inc.’s Evan Spiegel is facing backlash on social media after a lawsuit against the company alleged that the CEO did not want to expand into “poor countries” like India.
According to USA Today, the lawsuit was filed by former employee Anthony Pompliano, who says he was fired after he raised concerns the company was misleading investors ahead of its IPO launch.
While much of the original filing was heavily redacted when initially filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in January, the claims about Spiegel’s statements were among portions recently unsealed.
Pompliano, who left Facebook to help with growth and engagement at Snapchat, alleges that when he advised Spiegel on ways to boost the company’s international user metrics, Spiegel cut him off, saying “this app is only for rich people. I don’t want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain.”
The alleged comments sparked backlash from users in India and resulted in the Twitter hashtag #boycottsnapchat. It also led to one-star reviews on Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
In a statement, Snap Inc. dismissed the claims as those of a disgruntled former employee. “We are grateful for our Snapchat community in India and around the world,” reads a company statement.
Snap has been previously criticized for Snapchat filters it introduced that many deemed racially insensitive. Last year, they launched a filter meant to pay tribute to reggae singer Bob Marley, which many users blasted as “digital Blackface.” Several months later, they launched a filter critics said promoted racial stereotypes of Asians.
Snap Inc. launched its initial public offering last month, with shares opening at $24 and peaking at $27 in the first days of trading. On Monday, Snap shares were trading below $20.