Years before Jan Koum sold WhatsApp to Facebook for $22 billion, a California court granted his ex-girlfriend a restraining order against the future tech CEO. After court documents surfaced today, Koum apologized telling Bloomberg, "I am ashamed of the way I acted."
Bloomberg's summary of the claims is terse, skipping over the details. However, allegations in the court documents obtained by Bloomberg paint a picture of Koum methodically stalking and harassing the victim for months.
The order was granted in February 1996 in state court in San Jose, California, after a civil harassment claim from an ex-girlfriend who details multiple incidents from June 1995 to January 1996 in which she said Koum verbally and physically threatened her, according to court documents. The incidents included changing her school records and preventing her from attending college classes, according to the documents.
The restraining order alleges that the harassment began with phone calls after his then-girlfriend "told him that I didn't want to see him anymore." Soon, the phone calls turned into physical stalking.
July 8, 1995, Jan Koum waiting for hours outside my house until I got home after being out with a friend. At one point my father told him to leave, but he still waited until 12:30 PM when I finally arrived home that evening. He then followed my friend and slamming into the back of his car.
Much of the harassment occurred at Foothill Community College, where the victim was a student.
Eventually, the victim says she stopped going to school because of the harassment. In her request for a restraining order, she claims that Koum used her Social Security number to destroy her school records. She also says he began physically assaulting her around this time, but does not specify what that entails.
Even when the victim left school and changed her phone number at the advice of the local police, the harassment continued. Her new unlisted phone number soon received "hang up calls." Then Koum used mutual friends to trick her into answering calls.
All these actions forced the victim to take more time off her studies.
"I feel I was irrational and behaved badly after we broke up," Koum said in a statement today. "I am ashamed of the way I acted, and ashamed that my behavior forced her to take legal action. I am deeply sorry for what I did." [...]
"Jan has written a thoughtful and honest response that we believe demonstrates the sincerity of his remorse over what happened nearly two decades ago," said a Facebook spokesman.
Facebook may want to fixate on the fact that it happened "two decades" ago, but the more disturbing part seems to be that Koum, a Facebook board member, is not denying any of her claims.