Uber Oozes Big-Guv-Luv-Big-Biz Cronyism

Posted on November 19, 2014 by - Also by this author

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Emil Michael, senior vice president of business for Uber, in July. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Emil Michael, senior vice president of business for Uber, in July. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A slip-up remark from an Uber executive betrays the bullying mentality of a corporation whose mission statement should be: “Don’t let the truth stand in my way.”

Buzzfeed.com reported on the comments of Emil Michael, senior vice president of business for Uber, during a private dinner that included Arianna Huffington, Edward Norton and a BuzzFeed editor:

“Over dinner, he outlined the notion of spending ‘a million dollars’ to hire four top opposition researchers and four journalists. That team could, he said, help Uber fight back against the press — they’d look into ‘your personal lives, your families,’ and give the media a taste of its own medicine.

“Michael was particularly focused on one journalist, Sarah Lacy, the editor of the Silicon Valley website PandoDaily, a sometimes combative voice inside the industry. Lacy recently accused Uber of ‘sexism and misogyny.’ She wrote that she was deleting her Uber app after BuzzFeed News reported that Uber appeared to be working with a French escort service. ‘I don’t know how many more signals we need that the company simply doesn’t respect us or prioritize our safety,’ she wrote.

“At the dinner, Michael expressed outrage at Lacy’s column and said that women are far more likely to get assaulted by taxi drivers than Uber drivers. He said that he thought Lacy should be held ‘personally responsible’ for any woman who followed her lead in deleting Uber and was then sexually assaulted. Then he returned to the opposition research plan. Uber’s dirt-diggers, Michael said, could expose Lacy. They could, in particular, prove a particular and very specific claim about her personal life.”

You know a truth button has been pushed based on the intensity of disavowals, condemnations and back-pedaling:

Uber CEO Condemns Remarks

Uber CEO Mounts Charm Offensive

Say what? Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is morphing from frat boy to choir boy. But no matter how profuse an apology, hidden private comments uttered in a relaxed supposedly safe setting always betray true thoughts, sentiments and flaws.

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