Some of the confusion surrounding the sale of Color Labs’ assets last month is clearing, thanks to a lawsuit filed against the company and its former CEO on Monday. It turns out that, contrary to reports at the time, Apple did not just “acqui-hire” Color’s engineering staff, but also picked up some “key assets.”
The Apple note is just a one part of a bizarre story outlined in the court filing below. The document also contains jarring accusations leveled by Color’s cofounder, Adam Witherspoon, against CEO and founder Bill Nguyen. In his suit against the company, Witherspoon accuses Nguyen of retaliation and causing him emotional distress.
The details are pretty awful: Witherspoon accuses Nguyen of ”creating an extremely hostile, unsafe and harassing atmosphere” and of bringing an “armed crony” into the office to intimidate anyone participating in an internal investigation into Nguyen’s alleged misuse of company funds. He also says Nguyen ”threatened violence against Witherspoon’s young son,” and blocked Witherspoon’s job opportunities at Apple when the company was sold.
There are a lot of other accusations as well, including Nguyen pressuring an employee not to file a workers’ comp claim, of Nguyen beating his children, and monitoring Witherspoon’s child’s behavior at school and through a counselor — it just gets weirder as you read it. The accusations are just another chapter in Color’s increasingly bizarre history.