Uber CEO Apologizes After Disrespecting Uber Driver

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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is at the center of another controversy after being caught on a dash camera disrespecting a driver.

In the video, first published on Bloomberg, Kalanick raises his voice and uses profanities while arguing with an Uber driver, identified as Fawzi Kamel, over fares. Kalanick has issued an apology.

"To say that I am ashamed is an extreme understatement," he wrote in a note to Uber employees. "My job as your leader is to lead…and that starts with behaving in a way that makes us all proud. That is not what I did, and it cannot be explained away."

Watch what went down in the video below. The argument starts at around the 4-minute mark.

During the ride, Kalanick seems in decent spirits, bopping in the backseat to Maroon 5's "Don't Wanna Know" while sitting between two female passengers. When the trio reaches their destination, Kalanick stays in the car a while longer to chat with the driver — and things get ugly.

"So we are reducing the number of black cars over the next few months," Kalanick says.

The driver uses Kalanick's opening to bring up some concerns he has with his non-employer: "you're raising the standards and dropping the prices."

Kalanick denies that Uber is dropping the price of its Black service and says any other general price drops were made to keep the company competitive, "otherwise we'd be out of business."

"You had the business model in your hands, you could have the prices you want, but you choose to buy everybody a ride," the driver says.

Kalanick continues to push back, saying the company originally only offered "high-end" rides when it started. "We didn't go low-end because we wanted to. We went low-end because we had to because we'd be out of business," he says.

Kalanick adds that he has "guys" working on a premium offering, "which will be 50 to 75 percent more expensive than Black."

The driver continues to lament about Uber's pricing, telling Kalanick "people are not trusting you anymore. Do you think people will buy cars anymore? … I lost $97,000 because of you. I'm bankrupt because of you… you keep changing every day."

At this point, Kalanick starts raising his voice.

"What have I changed about Black?" Kalanick yells, to which the driver responds: "You dropped the prices… we started with $20."

"Bullshit," Kalanick says. "You know what, some people don't like to take responsibility for their own shit. They blame everything in their life on somebody else."


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In his note to employees Thursday, Kalanick apologized to Kamel, as well as the driver and rider communities and the rest of the Uber team.

"It's clear this video is a reflection of me—and the criticism we've received is a stark reminder that I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up," he wrote. "This is the first time I've been willing to admit that I need leadership help and I intend to get it."

Meanwhile, this is just the latest in a series of bad PR for Uber as of late. Between allegations of widespread sexism and sexual harassment within the company to the #deleteuber movement on social media and Kalanick's perceived support of Donald Trump's agenda, it's been one Uber controversy after another.

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