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Updated Dec 20, 2019 at 06:13PM EST by Matt.

Added Nov 19, 2014 at 02:19PM EST by Don.

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Uber is a mobile application which allows users to request rides from car drivers in major cities across the globe. The service has generated protests from taxi companies worldwide, who argue that Uber uses unfair business practices and illegal operations.


In 2009, entrepreneurs Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick founded the "UberCab" car service in San Francisco, California. In 2010, the company launched a mobile application for iOS and Android devices, which initially only allowed users to hail car drivers in the San Francisco area. In 2011, the venture capital firm Benchmark led a Series A funding round for Uber, raising $11.5 million. That year, Goldman Sachs, Menlo Ventures and Bezos Expeditions invested $32 million in the company. In December, Uber launched its service in Paris, France. In 2012, Uber became available in Toronto, Vancouver, London and Sydney. As of November 2014, Uber is available in 49 countries and more than 200 cities around the world.


Trip Summaries

As Uber continued to expand its service across major cities in the United States and elsewhere around the world, various stories about drunk passengers and poor customer service experiences began to surface and circulate in the social media. On July 22nd, 2014, Redditor Uhcougars1151 submitted a screenshot of the trip itinerary in a post titled "After a night of fairly heavy drinking, I woke up to find I took a very unnecessary cab ride… Thank you Uber for rubbing it in my face with the detailed map," garnering more than 5,100 notes (shown below, left). On April 21st, 2015, Redditor NYCThrowAway347 submitted a screenshot of an Uber service receipt that his girlfriend had allegedly received for a seven-mile trip in New York City, which shows a fare of $16,251.49 (shown below, right). After the story went viral, the company issued an apology for the clerical error and pledged to refund the entire cost of the ride.

$4.28 Thanks for choosing Uber 25% off uberX this summer! ケ4, Soogle Map data 92014 Google O 11:49pm 2403 Bagby Street, Houston, TX $12,142.49 Just a quick update We were unable to charge your card ending in lease update your WE MADE A FARE CORRECTION 25 Inefficient route" - John Patrick. Previous Charge Balance Due 4,109.00 12,142.49 Sr New Total $16,251.49 Map data 2015 Google O 12:08 Brooklyn, NY O 12:44 New York, NY TRIP TIME 00:35:29 CAR MILES uberX 6.79 You rode with Issued on behalf Ride provided by Uber Support Contact us with questions about your trip Leave something behind? Trackit down Give $20, Get $20 Share code

"My Uber Is Down There"

On October 30th, 2014, YouTuber impulsinator uploaded a video titled "Clearing the streets," in which a woman complains to a line of riot police that her "Uber is down there" during riots in San Francisco following the 2014 Giants' World Series victory.

"Hey It's Your Uber Driver"

"Hey It’s Your Uber Driver" refers to an exploitable image featuring an iPhone-style text message notification bar paired with the image of a character or celebrity sitting in a car, implying that the person pictured is the Uber driver who has arrived.

Hey it's your Uber driver here. Am outside slide to reply


2014 European Protests

In June 2014, taxi drivers in several European cities blocked roads to protest Uber competition, complaining that the service bypasses the regulations and fees placed on traditional taxi services.

Competitor Sabotage Allegations

On January 24th, 2014, Tech Crunch[9] and Valleywag[10] reported they had obtained leaked documents revealing that New York City Uber employees spammed fake orders to the competing car service Gett. That day, Uber[11] issued an apology on their website for the New York team's "aggressive" sales tactics.

Journalist Dirt-Digging Scandal

On November 17th, 2014, BuzzFeed[2] published an article by editor-in-chief Ben Smith entitled "Uber Executive Suggests Digging Up Dirt on Journalists," which reported on a series of controversial remarks made by Uber's Senior Vice President Emil Michael at a dinner event in New York City. According to the article, Michael suggested that the company should hire a well-funded team of opposition researchers and journalists to dig up disreputable information on members of the press who have portrayed Uber in a negative light, specifically Panda Daily writer Sarah Lacy, who had criticized the company for espousing sexism and misogyny in an article published in late October. Michael's remark was subsequently reported on by The New York Times,[3] USA Today,[4] Mashable,[5] CNBC,[6] The Washington Post and Business Insider.[7] On November 19th, American actor and Uber investor Ashton Kutcher posted a series of tweets defending Michael's statements and questioned "What is so wrong about digging up dirt on a shady journalist?" (shown below).

A.ashton kutcher @aplusk 36m Rumors span the globe before anyone has an opportunity to defend them selves. わ t ,295 ★373 A.ashton kutcher @aplusk 37m I believe we live in a day were the first word has become "the word" わ t-, 209 *306 A.ashton kutcher @aplusk 41m We are all public figures now! "@RussADeCastro: @aplusk Depends if they are a PUBLIC FIGURE, like you, or not. Findlaw.com" View conversation A.ashton kutcher @aplusk 46m What is so wrong about digging up dirt on shady journalist? @pando @TechCrunch @Uber £3 145 ★168

Also on November 19th, American tech blogger Robert Scoble posted a Facebook[8] status update calling for Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to resign for the company to recover from the controversy. In the wake of the public relations fiasco, Kalanick issued a series of apologetic tweets clarifying that Michael's comments did not represent the views of the company as a whole.

Robert Scoble Follow ! hrs-Criders Corners, PA- When I first started work at Microsoft an exec pulled me aside and told me how l could get fired. Pissing off journalists and analysts were very high on the list. This is how culture gets translated. It is why I now believe Travis Kalanick has to go. It is the only way to reboot the culture there and have Uber regain its loved status. I am in Pittsburgh speaking to business people (not tech people) and you should hear what they are saying about Uber This company has deeply wounded itself The investors should insist that Travis go. Then it should repair its relationship with Sarah Lacy and it should be made clear that being anti journalist or anti woman will not be tolerated at all. This wound is a lot deeper than I thought and IS changing consumer behavio Travis, if I were you I would resign and help your company heal. Like Comment-Share

2016 Kalamazoo Shooter

On the early morning of February 21st, 2016, Jason Dalton, a 45-year-old Uber driver in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, was arrested by the police on suspicions of launching a random shooting spree that resulted in the deaths of six people and critical injury of two others. According to the authorities, Dalton embarked on the deadly rampage at an apartment complex at around 5:45 p.m. (EST), followed by two additional shootings at a KIA car dealership at 10:08 p.m. and outside of a Cracker Barrel restaurant at 10:24 p.m., before he was ultimately taken into custody by the police at 12:40 a.m. on the next day. In addition, the investigators also revealed that the suspect purportedly took fares between the shootings spanning over the course of four hours.

In response to the incident, an unidentified Uber representative confirmed that the suspect had passed the company's standard background checks with no history of criminal records, while Uber's Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan released an official statement expressing sympathy for the victims and their families and the company's intention to fully cooperate with the police investigation.

"We are horrified and heartbroken at the senseless violence in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Our hearts and prayers are with the families of the victims of this devastating crime and those recovering from injuries. We have reached out to the police to help with their investigation in any way that we can."

#DeleteUber Protests

On January 27th, 2017, thousands of demonstrators assembled at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City to protest President Donald Trump's executive order calling for a large-scale travel ban on foreign nations originating from certain Muslim-majority countries. The protest was also joined by an hour-long strike from mostly immigrant New York City taxi drivers under the direction of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA).

Uber NYC @Uber_NYC UBER Surge pricing has been turned off at #JFK Airport. This may result in longer wait times. Please be patient. RETWEETS LIKES 507Eis 1,122 貸鼎劇温。回回呱圜 7:36 PM-28 Jan 2017

Approximately half an hour into the NYTWA's hour-long strike, Uber NYC tweeted that surge pricing has been temporarily disabled at JFK as the demand for Uber services began skyrocketing.

NY Taxi Workers @NYTWA NO PICKUPS JFK Airport 6 PM to 7 PM today Drivers stand in solidarity with thousands protesting inhumane & unconstitutional #MuslimBan RETWEETS LIKES 19,894 39,242 5:01 PM-28 Jan 2017

While the company's intention behind the decision remains unclear, Uber's temporary suspension of surge pricing was largely interpreted by many New Yorkers as a strike-breaking move, soon giving rise to an Uber boycott movement across the social media under the trending hashtag #DeleteUber.

and will be sorry to see you go. Do you wish to delete your account? Yes Share details You're scabs who profited off of a refugee crisis, mostly Do you wish to delete your account? Yes Share details Seeing Uber try to break a taxi drivers strike in NYC while people were protesting the immigration ban made me sick to my stomach and I refuse to ever use your company ever again. SUBMIT and will be sorry to see you go. Do you wish to delete your account? Yes Share details You tried to profit off of a strike against an unconstitutional immigration ban. See you in scab hell, assholes

Sexual Harassment Allegations

On February 19th, 2017, former Uber employee published a blogpost called "Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year At Uber." In the post, she made assertions that not only had she been the victim of sexual harassment by her manager, but also was threatened with termination if she reported it. CTO Thuan Pham, allegedly, also knew about the harassment and threats did nothing about them.[20] Posting the blog entry to Twitter, Fowler's tweet received more than 22,000 retweets and 30,000 likes in five months.[22]

Upon hearing of the allegations in the viral blogpost, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said:

"I have just read Susan Fowler's blog,” Kalanick said. “What she describes is abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in. It’s the first time this has come to my attention so I have instructed Liane Hornsey our new Chief Human Resources Officer to conduct an urgent investigation into these allegations. We seek to make Uber a just workplace FOR EVERYONE and there can be absolutely no place for this kind of behavior at Uber -- and anyone who behaves this way or thinks this is OK will be fired."[21]

In June 2017, Uber fired more than 20 employees after the company did an internal investigation into sexual harassment, discrimination and inappropriate behavior.[22] On June 13th, Kalanick took an indefinite leave of absence due to the numerous controversies that took place under his watch.[24]

That day, leaked audio from an all-hands meeting about sexism revealed one board member, David Bonderman, making a sexist remark to another board member, Ariana Huffington.[25] Twitter user @SallyPanckes posted a transcript of the conversation (shown below). The tweet received more than 2,100 retweets and 2,300 likes in three days.[26]

Julia La Roche @SallyPancakes So... This just happened at @Uber's all-hands meeting. @YahooFinance's @JPManga got some leaked audio. 6:40 min finance.vahoo.com/news/inside-ub ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: ‘There's a lot of data that shows when there's one woman on the board it's much more likely that there will be a second woman on the board.' DAVID: ‘Actually, what it shows is that it's much more likely to be more talking. HUFFINGTON: '0hhh. Come on, David. '

The following day, Bonderman resigned from the board of Uber. In a statement, Huffington said, "I appreciate David doing the right thing for Uber at this time of critical cultural changes at the company."[27]

Several news sites covered the resignation, including The New York Times,[27] CNBC,[28] Recode[29] and more Twitter published a Moments page about the all-hands meeting and the resignation.[30][31]


On December 18th, 2019, Uber agreed to pay $4.4 million in a settlement to victims of sexual harassment and retaliation.[36] The settlement comes following an investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

"The EEOC found reasonable cause to believe that Uber permitted a culture of sexual harassment and retaliation against individuals who complained about such harassment," the EEOC said in a statement.

"We’ve worked hard to ensure that all employees can thrive at Uber by putting fairness and accountability at the heart of who we are and what we do. I am extremely pleased that we were able to work jointly with the EEOC in continuing to strengthen these efforts," said Uber's Chief Legal Officer Tony West said in a statement.

Have the D

On May 15th, new Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi introduced a mentality designed to eliminate "bureaucracy creep" under his management. Under previous CEO Travis Kalanick, decisions could often get caught up in red tape and it was unclear who was responsible for things. Khosrowshahi encouraged employees to assert themselves in meetings. The memo read: “You may hear me say in meetings ‘[insert name] has the D here.’ This is about being clear on who is the decision-maker; I’d encourage you to do the same.”[32] The phrase "Have the D" in business was started by the Harvard Business Review in a 2006 article titled "Who Has the D?: How Clear Decision Roles Enhance Organizational Performance."[35]

This provoked jokes from several media outlets who know the memetic definition of The D which means "the penis."[33][34] Reached for comment, Uber responded: “As you may have read, Uber is now run by your dad -- so, no, that interpretation was lost on him, but he appreciates Business Insider pointing it out.”

Search Interest

External References

[1] Wikipedia – Uber

[2] BuzzFeed – Uber Executive Suggests Digging Up Dirt On Journalists

[3] New York Times – Uber a Start-Up Going So Fast It Could Miss a Turn

[4] USA Today – Ubers Disgraceful Plot

[5] Mashable – Uber VP

[6] CNBC – Uber will do anything to intimate journalists

[7] Business Insider – No One With a Stake in this company

[8] Facebook – Robert Scoble

[9] Tech Crunch – Black Car Competitor Accuses Uber Of DDoS

[10] Valley Wag – Ubers Dirty Trick Campaign

[11] Uber – Statement on NYC Driver Outreach

[12] UberEstimate – Live Map

[13] Reddit – Search Results for 'Uber'

[14] Wikipedia – 2016 Kalamazoo shootings

[15] BuzzFeed – Uber Executive Suggests Digging Up Dirt On Journalists

[16] Slate – Why #DeleteUber Took Off on Saturday Night: “I Don’t Need a Ride to Vichy”

[17] Gizmodo – As #DeleteUber Trends, Lyft Pledges $1 Million to ACLU

[18] Twitter – Hashtag Results for #DeleteUBER

[19] The Guardian – #DeleteUber: how social media turned on Uber

[20] Susan J Fowler –
Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year At Uber

[21] Vanity Fair – Uber C.E.O. Orders 'Urgent Investigation' Into Harassment Allegations

[22] Twitter – @susanthesquark's Tweet

[23] The New York Times – Uber Fires 20 Amid Investigation Into Workplace Culture

[24] Uber – Embattled Uber CEO Travis Kalanick takes indefinite leave of absence

[25] Yahoo – LEAKED AUDIO: Uber's all-hands meeting had some uncomfortable moments

[26] Twitter – @SallyPancakes' Tweet

[27] The New York Times – David Bonderman Resigns From Uber Board After Sexist Remark

[28] CNBC – Uber board member David Bonderman resigns after sexist comment at meeting

[29] Record – Yes, Uber board member David Bonderman said women talk too much at an all-hands meeting about sexism at Uber

[30] Twitter – Uber's All-Hands Meeting Addressing Company Culture

[31] Twitter – Uber board member resigns after sexist remark at company all-hands

[32] Business Insider – Have the D Memo

[33] Select All – Uber CEO Wants Employees to ‘Have the D’

[34] Observer – Uber CEO’s Impulse to ‘Have the D’ Is Good Business Plan With Awful Name

[35] Harvard Business Review – Who Has the D?

[36] Jezebel – Best of Luck to Uber as It Tries to Fix Shitty Company Culture With $4.4 Million to Gender Discrimination Victims

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Top Comments


Wow, I can't believe this business took advantage of their competitors' strike to make a profit by serving those affected by the strike.
What a completely rational business decision, they must just fucking hate Muslims.


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