Vaping As Juul announces mass layoffs, a new lawsuit alleges it shipped a million contaminated pods

Vaping As Juul announces mass layoffs, a new lawsuit alleges it shipped a million contaminated pods


A lawsuit filed a by former Juul executive alleges that the company knew a batch of contaminated e-liquid had been used in about one million pods shipped to retailers earlier this year, but did not inform customers. The lawsuit, first reported by BuzzFeed, was brought by Siddharth Breja, former senior vice president of global finance at Juul from May 2018 to March 2019, who alleges he was fired after complaining about the contaminated pods.

News of the lawsuit comes the same day as Juul’s announcement it will lay off about 500 people, or 10% to 15% of its workforce, and the departure of four executives, including chief financial officer Tim Danaher. Juul is currently under scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration, which claims the startup made misleading statements about its product and targeting of teens.

In the lawsuit, Breja claims that during a meeting on March 12, he learned a contaminated batch of mint e-liquid was used to make 250,000 refill kits, or a total of one million pods, that had already been shipped to retailers.

Breja alleges that when he complained about Juul’s refusal to issue a product recall or health and safety notice, Danaher said doing so would cost the company billions of dollars in lost sales, hurting its then-$38 billion valuation. About a week later, Breja says the company fired him, telling him that it was because he had misrepresented himself as former chief financial officer at Uber. In the lawsuit, Breja says the claim was “preposterous,” and that he had accurately represented his former position as a chief financial officer of a division at Uber.

In the lawsuit, Breja also claims that Juul wanted to sell pods that were almost a year old and when he asked the company to include an expiration or best by date, or a date of manufacture on the packaging, he was told by former CEO Kevin Burns that “half our customers are drunk and vaping like mo-fos, who the fuck is going to notice the quality of our pods?”

In an email, a Juul spokesperson said “Mr. Breja’s claims are baseless. He was terminated in March 2019 because he failed to demonstrate the leadership qualities needed in his role. The allegations concerning safety issues with Juul products are equally meritless, and we already investigated the underlying manufacturing issue and determined the product met all applicable specifications. The company will vigorously defend this lawsuit.”

TechCrunch has contacted for comment the law firm representing Breja. In a statement to BuzzFeed, Breja’s attorney Harmeet Dhillon said “Mr. Breja became aware of very concerning actions at the company, and he performed his duty to shareholders and to the board by reporting these issues internally. In exchange for doing that, he was inappropriately terminated. This is very concerning, particularly since some of the issues he raised concerned matters of public safety.”

Burns was replaced in September by K.C. Crosthwaite, a former executive at Juul’s largest shareholder Altria . A replacement for Danaher has not been announced yet.

Updated with statement from Juul.

Red Dead Redemption The Morning After: Supreme’s $60 burner phone is a hypebeast’s dream

Red Dead Redemption

Especially if you keep your husband/cameraman locked in the basement.Crowdfunding is better than Netflix for YouTube’s creep queen

Six months ago, Christine McConnell picked up the phone and learned that her Netflix show, The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell, wouldn’t be renewed. Now, with YouTube and Patreon, she has a stream of reliable income for the first time in her artistic career. More than 3,000 fans contribute to her page monthly in $3 to $100 increments, while 90,000 subscribers follow along on YouTube.

According to her, “(social media stars and YouTubers) don’t know that they’re actually in such a better position to completely own their brands and have this totally new kind of income that didn’t exist 10 years ago. It’s just so much better.”

The $60 candybar phone sold out in seconds.Supreme’s burner phone is a hypebeast’s dream

It’s perfect for calling for help from the next Fyre festival.

Earlier RAZR rumors hinted at a $1,500 Verizon-exclusive folding phone.Motorola invite hints at a ‘reinvented’ RAZR

Earlier this year, a Motorola exec confirmed to Engadget that the company was hard at work on foldable phone technology. Now CNET reports it’s sending out invites for a November 13th event in Los Angeles that promise the “highly-anticipated unveiling of a reinvented icon.” Add in an embedded GIF of something that looks like a hinged mobile device, and the potential of a new RAZR phone is quickly moving from rumor to reality.

That seems bad.Samsung will fix bug that lets any fingerprint unlock a Galaxy S10

The Samsung Galaxy S10’s fingerprint reader has been balky from day one, with users reporting it could be unlocked with a 3D-printed fingerprint. Worse, a buyer recently discovered that if you install a third-party screen protector, a non-registered user could unlock the phone. In a statement to Engadget, the company said “We recommend all customers to use Samsung authorized accessories, specifically designed for Samsung products.”

It’s time to take on Tesla’s Superchargers.Ford teams up with charging companies to form the FordPass Network

Ford has introduced the FordPass Charging Network, which it says includes 12,000 charging stations with more than 35,000 plugs in North America. Customers who buy its upcoming EVs, presumably including its Mustang-inspired electric SUV, will get two years of free access (they’ll still need to pay for electricity) to the network from the time they buy and activate their FordPass account for the vehicle.

You’ll have another way to see ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ next spring.Studio Ghibli movies will stream on HBO Max

HBO Max will be the streaming home for movies from the legendary Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli. Classics including Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and Howl’s Moving Castle will be available to stream for the first time anywhere on the service. In one fell swoop, HBO Max grabbed a selection of much-loved animated movies, which might help it in the battle for streaming supremacy against the likes of Disney+. In fact, Disney’s streaming service may have seemed like the logical choice for the Ghibli canon. The movies will start streaming from next spring.

It’s one step ahead of the Trump administration’s ban on flavored e-cigs.Juul stops selling its fruit-flavored vape products

Juul is suspending the sale of its fruit-flavored vape products in the US, including mango, creme, fruit and cucumber varieties. The company will continue to sell its mint and menthol nicotine pods. The decision comes as the Trump administration is preparing to ban flavored e-cigs in an attempt to curb teen vaping — and as the CDC continues to search for the cause of a vaping-related lung illness.

Juul halted sales of those flavors in stores last year. Since then, they’ve only been available online.

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Vaping As Juul announces mass layoffs, a new lawsuit alleges it shipped a million contaminated pods

Nintendo Switch The Morning After: DJI’s palm-sized drone can fly for 30 minutes

by | Oct 31, 2019 | Gaming

Nintendo Switch

More screens aren’t always better.LG G8X ThinQ review

Foldable phones aren’t quite ready for primetime, so LG did the next best thing: It added a case with a second screen. The only problem is that this doesn’t quite work either. As Chris Velazco explains, “the G8X and its second screen generally act like two smartphones attached at the proverbial hip.” Still, its funky setup isn’t so bad that it’s completely useless, and if you find a good deal on one it might be worth a try.

Things are going well.Nintendo Switch sales should pass the SNES next quarter

Nintendo sold 4.8 million Switch consoles last quarter, bringing lifetime sales to 41.67 million. That’s a 50 percent increase on the 3.19 million Switch consoles sold during the same period last year and includes nearly two million units of the new Switch Lite sold in just the last ten days of the reporting period. The company also told investors that its mobile efforts are currently focused its existing mobile apps, like Dr. Mario and Mario Kart Tour, as opposed to releasing new ones in the next year.

In-car systems will have a new look soon.Ford’s Sync 4 system will add wireless CarPlay and Android Auto support

When Sync 4 arrives in select Ford vehicles starting in 2020, it’ll include wireless support for both CarPlay and Android Auto. Some Sync 4 vehicles will include wireless charging, so you’ll be able to take one less cable with you when you go for a drive in one of the company’s new cars. The interface is also tuned for multitasking and has support for larger 15-inch screens.

Ford’s other announcement is that, around the same time, it will have new models ready to receive over-the-air updates.

The game launches on PS4 November 8th.The ‘Death Stranding’ launch trailer is here, and it’s eight minutes long

Sony has shared an eight-minute launch trailer for Hideo Kojima’s next opus. Don’t go into the trailer with the expectation to get a better sense of the game’s story; more likely, you’ll come out the other side with more questions than answers. It wouldn’t be a Kojima game otherwise.

The only real problem is that there are so many other speakers to choose from.Amazon Echo review (2019): Low-priced, but not low-end

The latest Echo does just about everything right: It sounds great, it’s pretty cheap at $99 and it handles voice commands like a charm.

He’s made a big donation to a YouTuber-led project to combat climate change.Why did Elon Musk just buy a million trees?

Last night, Elon Musk bought a million trees for a cool $1 million, and it wasn’t some mad luxury purchase you might expect. Instead, it’s all based on the power of a handful of YouTubers starting a project that’ll do a little bit to combat climate change. TeamTrees is a project aimed at raising $20 million by the end of 2019 to bankroll the planting of 20 million new trees by the end of 2022. Spearheading TeamTrees is Jimmy Donaldson. Better known online as MrBeast, Donaldson made a name for himself doing stunts, while also uploading philanthropic antics, using money he’s made from his channel.

So light it doesn’t need to be registered with the FAA.DJI’s palm-sized Mavic Mini can fly for up to 30 minutes

This foldable Mavic Mini weighs in at just 249 grams and comes with a bunch of features designed to make drone flying and aerial photography fun and accessible to everyone, without skimping on quality. The standard Mavic Mini package with remote controller, one battery, extra propellers and all necessary tools and wires is available for pre-order for $399 and will start shipping on November 11th.

The social network believes the ads are too prone to manipulation.Twitter will put a stop to political ads on November 22nd

Twitter has wrestled with the issue of questionable political ads and decided just to get rid of them entirely. Jack Dorsey announced that the social network is stopping all political ads outside of non-partisan exceptions (such as voter registration), whether they come from candidates or interest groups. It’ll provide the finished policy on November 15th and will start enforcing it on November 22nd.

Dorsey said the decision stemmed from both principles and practical realities. A political message on Twitter should earn its reach when people follow or share accounts and “should not be compromised by money,” the CEO said. Meanwhile, over at Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg is staying the course.

But wait, there’s more…

The Morning After is a new daily newsletter from Engadget designed to help you fight off FOMO. Who knows what you’ll miss if you don’t Subscribe.

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Amazon People Are Sharing The Internet’s Best-Kept Secrets And Someone Call The FBI And The Fire Squad

by | Oct 31, 2019 | Trending



The internet can be a dark and scary place…but sometimes you can also learn a lot of cool things in that dark and scary place. That’s what I call balance.

Generali Versicherung



The way to recover documents online is a mystery…but it exists:

The Wayback Machine and how you can recover deleted news articles, posts, and other unreachable pages. It’s the reason nothing on the internet is truly ever deleted.”




We really don’t know who founded bitcoin, which…makes sense but is also totally weird:

“Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? They say it’s the name of the creator of bitcoin, but it’s an alias. The true founders have never been revealed.




Or the (potentially evil) genius behind the Cicada 3301 puzzles:

“The identity of the creator or creators of the Cicada 3301 puzzles. With Cicada, the puzzles and steps for potential recruits are quite complex, so it seems like a lot of trouble to go through for this kind of project. One thing that seems somewhat bizarre to me is that many complex puzzles and steps to get through would narrow the pool of successful recruits to a small number, but then keeping the organization’s structure and operations almost totally hidden to its new members would likely cause high turnover.”




Reddit karma is calculative and not by random chance:

“How karma is calculated. Apparently there are a series of sequences that show karma is not random, but scientific.




Apparently, there are free college courses you can take online:

People really don’t know about MOOCs (massive online open courses). There are college courses from universities everywhere, and they are free to enroll and participate in online.”




This shopping secret that I’m actually trying as I type:

“Don’t buy anything straightaway, but leave it in your cart for a week. For most places, there’s a high chance you’ll get a discount offer. I know because I used to work for a company what would set the machinations for it.”




Also, there are secret coupons — well, not totally secret but ways to get that discount, honey:

Save10, save20, and save30 are premier discount codes on a surprising amount of websites. Anytime you’re ready to check out, just try one of these codes and it’ll probably work.”




There are women on Reddit (which I guess is a secret, but also not):

My wife won’t let me tag her in posts because she doesn’t want her gender to be known. She used to have a username that made it obvious she was a woman, and I witnessed firsthand how her comments were interpreted on certain subjects. When she changed her username to something gender-neutral, that’s when I really noticed the difference, and it’s quite obvious. It’s sad.”




This secret that helps you save money on Amazon:

Camelcamelcamel — it’s a tool that tracks the prices of everything on Amazon. You can see trends on products, like if the product goes on sale a certain time of year. You can set notifications to alert you if a product dips below a certain price. It’s an invaluable tool if you do a lot of Amazon shopping.”




There are phone apps that’ll help you steal… I mean, save on gas:

A certain service station/fuel company in Australia has a phone app that lets you lock in the price of fuel at your closest fuel station for a week. People have ‘found various ways’ to lock in the price of fuel at any of their stores in Australia (against the TOS), giving you huge discounts if your local fuel services are expensive/at the top of the cycle.”




This secret that’ll brighten up any music lover’s day:

I love You can listen to music from around the world, even different decades, at the click of a button. If you’re into world music, definitely check it out.”




This handy Firefox secret:

The ‘Inspect Element’ tool on Firefox can be used nefariously if you know how to use it correctly. I can’t say the different ways you can use it, but it is pretty epic.”




That secret ‘S’:

Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but that one ‘S’ everybody used to draw. There’s like an entire conspiracy theory on where it originated, even though we don’t know a specific time when it first appeared.”




And lastly, this secret that’s so hard to explain, I guess you just have to read it:

“There’s this concept called ‘The Library of Babel.‘ It is a fascinating experiment which uses algorithms to prove Jorge Luis Borges’ theory that anything and everything text-based can be, and has been, created through the random assignment of characters using a labyrinth of bookshelves in a hexagon format.Every work of fiction or nonfiction can be created word-for-word randomly given enough permutations. Anything randomly discovered in the library will be in exactly the same spot when rediscovered without having to generate the millions and millions of pages of text and store it.”


This is literally my face while reading some of these. Well, IDK whether to be impressed, creeped out, or ready to spiral into more information.


Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Vaping As Juul announces mass layoffs, a new lawsuit alleges it shipped a million contaminated pods

Nintendo Switch What we played in October: ‘Untitled Goose Game’ and ‘What the Golf?’

by | Oct 30, 2019 | Gaming

Nintendo Switch

The music and sound effects are similarly minimal but completely appropriate for the game. In fact, the music is one of my favorite things in the entire game. It’s a simple, mellow piano score that drops in and out of the game depending on what you’re doing. It hilariously ramps up in intensity the more chaos you cause, with dramatic hits punctuating moments where the villagers are surprised by the goose.

But the best thing about Untitled Goose Game is the honk button. It’s the first thing you learn how to do, and it’s both a useful tool to achieving your devious means, while also being straight-up fun to mash for no reason. The game requires a surprising amount of stealth to check things off your to-do list — but sometimes I’d get caught by a human and start mashing the honk button, flapping my wings and causing pure mayhem as a way to blow off steam and just goof off. That would often lead me to spend a few minutes just messing up as much stuff in the area as I could, to pay back those nasty humans for catching me in the act.

The only downside to Untitled Goose Game is that it’s too short. More accurately, I wish it was longer, but House House made a tight game that doesn’t overstay its welcome. And even though I now know how to do everything required to finish the game, I’ll definitely drop into the goose’s world again, because startling these goofy humans is just too satisfying.

Apex Legends Season 3

Nintendo Switch Richard Lawler

Richard Lawler

Senior News Editor

At this point in my gaming career I can usually only keep up with one game at a time. After a nearly two-year stretch of constant Overwatch play, Apex Legends brought me into the battle royale fold and I haven’t looked back. The team at Respawn tweaked formulas established by giants in the genre like PUBG and Fortnite, while bringing a feeling I remembered from the Titanfall and Call of Duty games they’d worked on.

And then the map changed.

Apex has been out for less than a year, and its last update is bigger than anything the game had previously seen. While there’s still only one large area, players said goodbye to the lush forests and dry deserts of King’s Canyon before dropping into the land of fire and ice that is World’s Edge.

While I didn’t think the game needed a map revamp, I’ve loved learning a new map that rewards different styles of play, and it seems to have brought back many people who tried the game early on before ditching it.

With a lot of action taking place in urban areas, gameplay is more vertical than ever before, but careful terrain design means snipers don’t always rule supreme. I haven’t yet gotten the hang of the new character, Crypto, or his drone abilities, but he adds more to the game than he takes away from other characters. I find that he provides the challenge of turning the hunter into the hunted whenever you see one of those machines flying by.

I’m still not sure about Apex’s frustrating dual-currency setup and lootboxes. While I’m not overly concerned for myself — being mediocre at the game means I have very little blame to assign for things I haven’t earned — it’s a system that tiptoes around the line of being predatory to collectors. If I want a particular cosmetic, just let me pay for it and decide if it’s worthwhile instead of trying to go 50 levels up a Battle Pass or praying for RNG blessings.

The same goes for teammates. While a Halloween event will bring back single player for a limited time, a lot of the fun of the game depends on the commitment of whoever is in your trio. While penalties for leaving early in the game’s ranked mode have given players a reason to stick around and see if teammates can help them up, its standard mode could use some Overwatch-like endorsements or LFG to keep everyone’s expectations on the same page.

Even with those caveats, I’d recommend giving Apex a shot — it’s free, you can’t get cheaper than that — and if you’re on a team with me then congratulations! I bring a 5% winning percentage, inconsistent aim and a constant flow of loot pings, but I won’t leave a downed teammate behind if I can help it.

Sayonara Wild Hearts

Nintendo Switch Kris Holt

Kris Holt

Contributing Writer

It’s been a long time since I fell in love with a game as hard and as fast as I have with Sayonara Wild Hearts. It’s a gorgeous, thrilling experience about heartbreak that’s filled with surprises.

Developer Simogo drew from broad reaches of the cultural spectrum for its stunning work here, packing a ton of ideas into the “On-rails Action Ballet.” Sayonara Wild Hearts constantly slings new mechanics at you — I didn’t quite expect it to invoke Titanfall 2, for one thing. I was able to wrap around my head around most of them quickly, but for those I didn’t, numerous checkpoints meant I didn’t have to retread my steps too much.

Most levels clock in at under a couple of minutes and I finished my first runthrough in a little over an hour. Stages often felt a hair too short to me, though. I wanted many of them to last a bit longer, but I’ll be replaying this often enough that it’s not a major concern. Meanwhile, playing on Apple Arcade, I found it much easier to use a DualShock 4 than to frantically swipe across my iPhone’s screen.

And then there’s the glue that holds it all together: that sublime soundtrack by Daniel Olsén and Jonathan Eng. It’s an umami bomb for the ears that I’ve been mainlining almost non-stop since my first playthrough. It’s filled with techno-pop gems (“Mine” and “Inside” are particular faves), and it works flawlessly with the rest of the game’s rhythms. I expect I’ll be bopping along to those tunes for a while yet.

What the Golf?

Nintendo Switch Devindra Hardawar

Devindra Hardawar

Senior Editor

During my recent trip to the Oculus Connect conference, I thought I had all my gaming needs solved with the Nintendo Switch. I loaded it up with Fire Emblem Three Houses, Hollow Knight and plenty of games I’ve been planning to spend more time with. Then I started playing What the Golf, which I downloaded on a whim as part of Apple Arcade, and I couldn’t stop.

For the majority of my five and a half hour flight to San Jose, I carefully plotted golf trajectories and sussed out the solutions to some of the game’s more nefarious puzzles. What the Golf starts out as a mere golf game — then you start throwing your character around the stage to hit the flag. Before long, you’re introduced to an overworld where your sentient golf ball has to complete levels and fight an evil computer. It turns out, it’s anything but a normal golf game.

Triband, What the Golf’s developers, describe it as a “physics-based golf parody.” That’s an understatement. It’s not just a fun spin on the rules of golf, it’s a love letter to classic and modern games. It transforms the mechanics of a platformer into something you could play with a golf swing. Somehow, it turns everything into golf. (I won’t spoil it’s many wonderful references.)

What the Golf is basically the perfect phone game. You can play it mostly one-handed, and it’s the ideal thing to load up when you’re exhausted and don’t even have the energy to hold up a Switch Lite. And yes, it’s another sign that Apple Arcade is one of the best deals in gaming today.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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