DUBAI: Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel and his supermodel fiancée Miranda Kerr are facing backlash in India after reports that Spiegel allegedly said the country was “poor,” according to a lawsuit.
The CEO’s alleged comments were, according to the lawsuit, made in September 2015 and became public after a court recently ordered that the lawsuit filed by former employee Anthony Pompliano be unsealed.
Pompliano claims that Spiegel’s alleged remarks were made in reference to the app’s poor performance in India and Spain.
“This app is only for rich people,” the lawsuit alleges Spiegel said. “I don’t want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain,” he allegedly added.
Indian Twitter users have hit back by calling for a Snapchat boycott and posting one-star reviews of the popular app.
Some social media users have even targeted Kerr with angry messages, often replete with explicit language.
“Tell your f*ing scumbag of a man to think before speaking,” one person commented on Kerr’s Instagram. “So what if everyone living in India is not as rich as him. His dumb app is beneath us.”
On Monday, the hashtag #BoycottSnapchat garnered more than 35,000 unique tweets, according to the Huffington Post.
In a statement to CNN, the company labelled the claim “ridiculous” and called Pompliano a “disgruntled former employee.”
“Obviously Snapchat is for everyone,” the company said in its statement. “It’s available worldwide to download for free.”
According to Reuters, Shares of Snap (SNAP.N) fell 1.5 percent on Monday as the backlash mounted.
The dip put Snap on track to close at its lowest level in nearly a month, a bad sign following its $3.4 billion public listing that was the hottest by a technology company in three years.
According to the Pew Research Center, only 17 percent of Indians citizens are smartphone users, however, a study by Ericsson estimates that the country could have 1.4 billion mobile subscribers by 2021.
Indo-Asian News Service reported that there are four million Snapchat users in India.