Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel has been accused of offensive comments towards the people of India, by way of a recent lawsuit which alleges he once said his app wasn’t for “poor countries like India and Spain,” a claim which has caused the app to be flooded with one-star reviews from angry users.
Specifically, the suit says that when former Snapchat employee Anthony Pompliano noted during a 2015 company meeting that the app wasn’t performing as well as it could outside the U.S., Spiegel replied that Snapchat “is only for rich people,” and singled out those two countries as examples of places he wasn’t interested in expanding into.
Snapchat did not immediately return a Daily Dot request for comment.
The suit has sparked criticism and condemnation from Indians, who’ve subsequently flooded the app with one-star reviews, alongside scathing commentaries blasting Spiegel for his alleged description of their country. Many of them have called for an outright boycott of the app, calling for fellow Indians to delete the app, but presumably not before leaving a negative review. While almost all of the responses have been testy, angry, indignant ,and outraged, others are quite humorous.
— Vaibhav Sharma (@v4ibhav) April 16, 2017
😂😂One of the reviews about the Snapchat app in the App Store by an Indian pic.twitter.com/DvHneiLGUS
— Namya Sinha (@Namyasinha) April 16, 2017
— RJ ALOK (@OYERJALOK) April 15, 2017
In a response to BuzzFeed, Snapchat downplayed the allegations, calling them “ridiculous” and pointing out that the app is available to download anywhere on Earth, and is therefore “for everyone.”
It remains to be seen what the outcome of the overall lawsuit will be. The actual contents of the suit are about much more than Spiegel’s alleged comments on countries like India and Spain, accusing the company of inflating crucial user metrics in advance of its IPO in 2015. Simply put, it may prove to be a serious headache for the company, and that’s setting aside this parallel controversy that’s earned it the ire of so many Indian users. Snap Inc. has insisted it has “nothing to hide” in relation to the lawsuit.