It seems like taxi-industry disrupter Uber just can’t get a break this year.
First, one of Uber’s drivers-not-drivers runs down a 6-year-old girl while waiting for his next fare on New Year’s Eve, forcing Uber to publicly admit that, yeah, okay, they are our independent contractors but the emphasis is on independent here. Yeah, there’s a lot of dough at stake but, hello, boundaries. Because, hey, this is just about people reaching out to share their cars with people. And caring is cool not culpable.
And then there was that Uber guy with the hammer in September, who decides to go all whac-a-mole on some customer because he got drunk in the Uber guy’s taxi-not-taxi. Because sharing is caring unless its regurgitated sharing and then IT IS ON, BRO.
But now, gosh darn it, wily BuzzFeed reporter Ben Smith — who seems to have missed the memo that he was to be a reporter-not-reporter — got invited to a dinner that included Uber senior exec Emil Michael and no-names in the media infotainment complex like Arianna Huffington. In a news-not-news dinner statement to those he thought would be presumably down with his plan, Michael said that he thinks that its about high time that sharing-is-caring Uber got down to sharing the personal and damning details of the lives of journalists that question the company’s strategies, even saying that targeting their families would be fair game.
He even went so far as to call out one journalist in particular: the rhymes-with-witch PandoDaily editor-in-chief Sarah Lacy who dared — dared! — to suggest that Uber is moving along a highly despicable path, especially in regards to the concerns of its female users. Like the ones who thought it might not be okay to use boob-shots and “ride with hot chicks!” to advertise the service. Or the one who thought maybe a partial refund might not be enough of a response for a
two-hour abduction ride to a dark parking lot 20 miles from her home.
Realizing that — oops! — his words-not-words made BuzzFeed news and that –oops! — they might be used to conclude that Lacy was absolutely right, here’s what Michael felt compelled to say to the media in his defense:
“The remarks attributed to me at a private dinner do not reflect my actual views and have no relation to the company’s views or approach.”
Or, as Necgray translated for the comments section of Gawker’s Valleywag:
The detailed plans of hit-squad doxing I outlined to multiple conversation partners do not reflect what I might actually do in a given situation despite the fact that I spent time and effort to draw them up and the fact that I could very easily afford to go through with them. I regret the fact that people found out about me saying these horrible things and discovering that I am, in fact, a pile of human garbage.
One of the results of all this, of course, is that sites like Gizmodo are running with alternatives to Uber articles. We all are, of course, crying tears* over the latest
shitstorm of controversy misunderstanding that this represents for Uber. For that we are all truly just like Michael: sorry-not-sorry.
* big ol’ crocodile tears