Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel has apologized after a series of emails from his college days revealed insensitive statements regarding women. Gawker’s Valleywag published Spiegel’s e-mails from when he was a fraternity brother at Kappa Sigma at Stanford, a notoriously wild house that got kicked off of campus at one point.
Spiegel, who is now 23, has responded to the e-mail exposure with a statement.
“I'm obviously mortified and embarrassed that my idiotic emails during my fraternity days were made public. I have no excuse. I'm sorry I wrote them at the time and I was a jerk to have written them. They in no way reflect who I am today or my views towards women,” he said in the emailed apology.
In an email from 2009, Spiegel discussed a party and told classmates he hoped they had oral sex with girls. In another message, he seemed to talk about getting women from a sorority as drunk as possible.
In another email, congratulating the fraternity on a party well done, Spiegel told the recipients to give themselves a pat on their backs or “have some girl put your large kappa sigma [member] down her throat.” Some of the language was too crude for publication.
Snapchat is among the fastest growing mobile messaging apps and a pioneer in disappearing messages, which Spiegel and friends developed so that digital footprints would not haunt people in the future.
Now more than 1.2 billion messages a day are shared through Snapchat, which has 22 million monthly visitors, according to comScore. The company was highlighted in a report today from top venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Snapchat was founded in 2010 and has raised close to $150 million. However, it is the subject of a founding lawsuit—one of Spiegel’s fraternity brothers Reggie Brown claims he came up with the idea.
Silicon Valley’s treatment of women is a prominent subject, and tech leaders like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg have focused on ways to help women advance in the male-dominated culture. Snapchat’s COO is a woman, Emily White, who was hired from Instagram.
Silicon Valley reflected again on misogyny just this weekend when a co-founder of the lyrics website Rap Genius was dismissed for making remarks that offended people after the mass murders in Isla Vista, Calif., which was carried out by a sexist psychopath who promoted violence against women on YouTube and elsewhere online.