City Desk

Uber CEO: Writers Shouldn’t Think We’re Responsible When Things Go Wrong

Uber, seemingly in permanent murky water in D.C., has a funny way of playing damage control.

Last Saturday night, Bridget Todd, an activist and former lecturer at Howard University tweeted at the company that her Uber driver choked her after she kissed her husband in the back of the vehicle because he didn't approve of her interracial relationship, according to Valleywag.

In response, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick emailed the company's PR team (and apparently included a Valleywag reporter on the e-mail list) warning them to "make sure these writers don't come away thinking we are responsible when these things do go bad…for whatever reason these writers are starting to think we are somewhat liable for these incidents that aren't even real in the first place."

Kalanick also issued a more objective press release to the site on the matter, writing that "it is our understanding is that an argument broke out between the driver utilizing Uber’s technology and one of his passengers – an argument that was provoked by the passenger. The police approached the scene and neither party elected to press charges. If legal action is taken, Uber remains committed to helping appropriate law enforcement agencies in any way possible."

The driver's full account of the incident can be found here.

Back in March, the U.S. Attorney's Office opted not to charge an Uber driver for allegedly raping a female passenger.

Sedan picture via Shutterstock

 

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  • Joe

    Straight out of Michael Scott school of PR. I'm surprised he didn't say that they're making him into an "escape goat."

  • Izzy

    I don't think it's too much to ask a passenger to stop digging her heels into your seat while she's trying to get her freak on in the back of your car.

    I was trying to figure out how the driver choked her while her husband/bf/hookup was with her.

    Come on sista! Get your life right. You were drunk and beligerent and could not be controlled or calmed down by your (white) boyfriend and were allegedly choked. But you didn't bother to inform the police officer who came on the scene that you were choked by a black man in the presence of your white husband? Come on!

    Judge Judy would dismiss your case with plenty of time to spare for a commercial break.

  • Nick

    I think what their CEO is trying to get at is that drivers are not uber employees, they're almost definitely considered independent contractors, and therefore uber is not liable for their actions as an employer typically would be for their employee. It's a pretty standard legal argument for avoiding vicarious liability, and given how uber drivers operate, will probably hold up in just about every court in the country.

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