Snap Inc., the tech company behind Snapchat and a number of other smaller projects like Bitmoji, has not had a forgiving year beyond a really cool virtual reality hot dog. Here’s something to shed a little more perspective on its recent troubles: Their head of human resources is allegedly a bro who brags about gunfights with drug dealers and tells employees to watch out for serial killers.
Per the Information, Snap’s human resources chief Jason Halbert is “infamous” for regaling staff with dubious stories regarding everything from how he masturbated during his time in the military to his run-ins with organised crime in Mexico:
Mr. Halbert, 41, is known less for standard HR initiatives than for holding employee training sessions on subjects like picking a deadbolt lock. During a presentation on employee safety, he went on a tangent about rapists and mass murderers. He likes to discuss how many psychopaths are in the population. He’s mentioned that during military deployments he used sexual fantasies to help him meditate, which brought him to orgasm.
Among the wilder things Halbert has brought up are claims he got in a gun battle with Mexican drug dealers while hunting terrorists, the Information wrote. According to numerous people familiar with the situation, Snap launched an internal investigation this spring regarding the H.R. chief’s alleged behaviour, though it did not result in him losing his position.
The situation surrounding Halbert has been exacerbated by Snap’s perilous corporate position, which has grown worse amid costly mistakes like its decision to blow tens of millions on Spectacles and more general issues like an inability to generate enough revenue to cover hundreds of millions in losses. Halbert remains in his role partially due to a close relationship with CEO Evan Spiegel, though the report indicated he initially started at the company as director of special projects and had no formal H.R. experience beyond “building teams of soldiers that went out on high level missions.”
Though Silicon Valley doesn’t exactly have the greatest track record on H.R. issues, this kind of stuff would raise eyebrows at most companies. The alleged behaviour, coupled with aggressive interviewing tactics, all had a real impact on Snap by making it harder for the company to recruit and retain qualified personnel, the Information wrote.
However, Snap has core issues that go well beyond any individual. It lost a total of $514.6 million (£386 million) in 2016 and $443 million (£332 million) in just one quarter in 2017, and it doesn’t really seem to have a plan to bring in more revenue beyond redesigning its app to try and lure in older demographics.
We’ve reached out to Snap for comment, and we’ll update this post if we hear back. [The Information]