A former Snapchat employee alleges that the company has been faking its growth numbers in order to boost its value in an IPO, according to a lawsuit filed in L.A. Superior Court.
Anthony Pompliano, who was the company’s growth lead, alleges that he was fired after just three weeks with the company because he refused to go along with Snapchat’s plans.
Pompliano was hired away from a similar job at Facebook, Snapchat’s arch-rival. According to the lawsuit, Pompliano came to understand that he was only hired because Snapchat wished to obtain confidential and proprietary information from Facebook.
He said he was fired after blowing the whistle on the company’s misrepresentations with several higher-ups.
“Snapchat’s leadership saw Mr. Pompliano as an impediment to their planned IPO because he refused to turn a blind eye to Snapchat’s misrepresentations,” the lawsuit alleges.
Pompliano also alleges that after he was fired, Snapchat set about smearing his reputation.
“His opportunities have been compromised significantly,” said Pompliano’s attorney, David Michaels. “He’s had difficulty securing employment. It would be a red flag to an employer that you were there for three weeks and were terminated. We believe when they make the inquiry to Snapchat, they hear a bunch of lies.”
Much of the suit is blacked out, including the specific metrics that Pompliano alleges were misrepresented. Michaels said the information was withheld pending a determination on whether it is covered by a confidentiality agreement. It is possible that that portion of the complaint — which appears to contain a detailed account of Pompliano’s brief tenure at Snapchat — could become public.
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The lawsuit seeks an injunction barring Snapchat from harming Pompliano’s employment prospects, in addition to damages. Pompliano is also pursuing a wrongful termination claim through the arbitration process, in accordance with the terms of his contract.
Mary Ritti, a spokeswoman for Snap Inc., Snapchat’s corporate parent, said the suit is without merit.
“We’ve reviewed the complaint,” she said. “It has no merit. It is totally made up by a disgruntled former employee.”