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Why Did Snapchat Pay $157.5 Million to an Ousted Employee?

By Published on .

Credit: Courtesy Snapchat

Ad Age "Media Guy" columnist Simon Dumenco's media roundup for the morning of Friday, Feb. 3:

Today's roundup has everything: a $157.5 million payday, a possible political poisoning, alternative facts about history, cartoon hands and more. (Sorry, it's been a long week -- and I miss Stefon.)

1. Snapchat parent Snap Inc.'s Thursday filing to go public has been very revealing. See, for starters, my colleague Garett Sloane's excellent post titled "8 Things Marketers Need to Know About Snapchat's IPO." Elsewhere, Business Insider's Alex Heath shares another filing revelation: Early Snapchat employee Reggie Brown, who claimed he came up with Snapchat's disappearing-photo idea and filed a lawsuit against cofounders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy after he was forced out of the company, was quietly paid a total of $157.5 million to settle. Snapchat issued a press release in September 2014 announcing the settlement, but we didn't learn about the stunning payday for Brown until Thursday.

2. Speaking of lawsuits, "Melania Trump's libel lawsuit against The Daily Mail over a story that she claims suggested she had been an 'escort' may not be totally dead, but it won't play out in a Maryland courtroom," per The Hollywood Reporter. "Trump's lawyers had argued that Daily Mail advertisements target users in Maryland, and therefore the location of the suit was proper. Maryland Circuit Court Judge Sharon Burrell isn't buying it."

3. "Alternative facts" beget alternative history: "Kellyanne Conway blames refugees for 'Bowling Green massacre' that never happened" (subhead: "Donald Trump's senior adviser uses fictitious incident to justify US president's travel ban"), per The Guardian.

4. Speaking of the Trump administration, The New York Times see a pattern in the president's surprise announcement regarding Israel (per a "Breaking News" email alert the Times sent out last night: "President Trump unexpectedly shifted his stance on Israel, warning Prime Minister Netanyahu to hold off on settlement construction"). The big story on the front page of this morning's paper is headlined "Trump Reverts to Pillars Of Obama Policies Abroad." The story (web version here) by Mark Landler, Peter Baker and David E. Sanger begins, "President Trump, after promising a radical break with the foreign policy of Barack Obama, is embracing some key pillars of the former administration's strategy, including warning Israel to curb settlement construction, demanding that Russia withdraw from Crimea and threatening Iran with sanctions for ballistic missile tests."

5. "The CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick, has resigned from President Trump's economic council made up of U.S. business leaders," NPR's Laura Sydell reports. "His resignation comes after a consumer campaign to boycott the ride hailing company because of Kalanick's association with the Trump administration."

6. The Daily Beast's Michael Weiss is out with a story this morning headlined "Has Putin Poisoned Another Opponent?" The Putin critic in question is Vladimir Kara-Murza, who suddenly and mysteriously fell ill yesterday -- in an eerie echo of another sudden and mysterious illness two years ago that doctors attributed to poisoning -- and is now on life support in a Moscow hospital. "Putin's enemies have had a bad habit over the years of ingesting things they shouldn't," Weiss writes, "from dioxin to polonium to killer flowers."

7. Finally, a random FYI for your Friday morning, courtesy of Vox: an explainer video titled "Why cartoon characters wear gloves" that has racked up more than a million views in less than 24 hours on YouTube, where it's currently a Top 10 Trending video.

Simon Dumenco, aka Media Guy, is an Ad Age editor-at-large. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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