Apps

Uber CEO apologizes for outburst at driver

An illustration picture shows the logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone next to the picture of an official German taxi sign in Frankfurt, Germany.

An illustration picture shows the logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone next to the picture of an official German taxi sign in Frankfurt, Germany.  (Reuters)

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick apologized Tuesday after a video surfaced of him in a heated conversation with an Uber driver about the company’s UberBlack service.

The video shows Kalanick and his driver, Fawzi Kamel, arguing about the direction of the UberBlack service. Kamel complained that the company was decreasing prices for the premium service. Kalanick denied that the company was decreasing prices.

Kamel also said that he lost $97,000 from leasing a car that meets the standards for the ride-hailing company’s premium feature.

Kamel had been driving for the company since 2011. That is when the tone of the conversation turned and Kalanick appeared to grow agitated.“You know what, some people don't like to take responsibility for their own s---,” Kalanick said. “They blame everything in their life on somebody else. Good luck!”

Kalanick said in an email, published on the ride-hailing company’s blog, that he needs to “grow up” and added that “This is the first time I’ve been willing to admit that I need leadership help and I intend to get it.”

Kalanick’s outburst at the driver is another black mark on the company, which has had a drama-filled year only three months into 2017.

More than 200,000 people deleted the app in January in protest of the company’s alleged undermining of a New York taxi union strike protesting President Trump’s refugee ban. On Feb. 2, Kalanick left his spot on Trump’s business advisory council because of pressure from Uber’s liberal-leaning employees, users and immigrant drivers.

A few weeks later, a former Uber employee accused company employees of sexual harassment in a viral blog.

Last week, Google’s self-driving car company Waymo sued Uber and its self-driving car company Otto, accusing it of stealing radar technology.

Finally, on Monday, the company’s head of engineering resigned after it was revealed he had faced a sexual harassment complaint at Alphabet from his former employer.

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