Uber is having the worst year ever, and it appears there are no signs of things slowing down. The rideshare company is under fire yet again, this time after the company’s CEO had choice words for a driver who complained about the pay.
Just weeks after the company had been accused of sexual harassment, a video has surfaced of Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick, and two female companions in the back of an Uber Black on Super Bowl Weekend. At some point in the video, one of the female passengers says that Uber is having a hard year, to which Kalanick responds, “I make sure every year is a hard year.” He then continues, “That’s kind of how I roll. I make sure every year is a hard year. If it’s easy, I’m not pushing hard enough.”
That message likely did not sit well with the driver, Fawzi Kamel, but he continued and got Kalanick and his party to their destination safely. When they arrived, the driver took a moment to bring up a complaint he had about the company. Kamel says that he is one of the Uber Black drivers who’s been with the company since 2010. He also says that the increase in Uber Black drivers and the decrease in fares has affected his pay. “You’re raising the standards, but you’re dropping the prices,” says Kamel.
Kalanick tells Kamel that he didn’t start Uber by low-balling, but with an increase in competition, he’s had to offer rates on the low-end to keep up.
“This? This is a piece of cake,” says Kamel. To which Kalanick responds, “No, it seems like a piece of cake because I’ve beaten them. If I didn’t do the things I did, we would have been beaten, I promise.”
Kamel tells Kalanick that he, and other Uber Black drivers, are going bankrupt. They’ve bought Black expensive cars to participate in this program, that they’re not making enough money to pay for. That is when Kalanick gets irritated.
“Bullshit, some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own shit,” said Kalanick. “They blame every single thing in their life on somebody else.”
After the video leaked, Travis Kalanick released an apology letter, his second or third so far for the year.
By now I’m sure you’ve seen the video where I treated an Uber driver disrespectfully. To say that I am ashamed is an extreme understatement. 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.
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. This is the first time I’ve been willing to admit that I need leadership help and I intend to get it.
I want to profoundly apologize to Fawzi, as well as the driver and rider community, and to the Uber team.
Watch the video below: