By KATHERINE FERNANDES
Uber has caught the nation’s attention as a successful transportation company with its ride-sharing business. The company is an efficient and cheap alternative to more traditional transportation such as taxis and limos. However, it is a very controversial company that is in constant war with its own hired drivers, taxi drivers, city governments and even journalists.
Believe it or not, a professional, successful and fast growing ride company, considers that it should hire opposition researchers to “dig up the dirt on journalists who criticized their company” and give the news media “a taste of its own medicine.”
Uber has been heavily criticized for using “dirty tricks” to impair its rival companies, for offering rides to “hot girls” in order to promote the company and for being careless about addressing the problem of female passengers receiving undesired sexual attention.
Now, the company is being aggressive with the news media. Last Friday night, Emil Michael, the company’s vice president, told guests at an Uber dinner party in New York City, that the company should battle negative media critics by spending $1 million to get rid of the defamatory information that media created about the company and that it should also damage the reputation of journalists who slandered Uber’s public image.
According to BuzzFeed, Michael put Sarah Lacy, editor and journalist of PandoDaily who has been critical of “Uber’s sexism,” as an example of an obstructionist journalist. Michael said that he wanted to investigate a “particular and very specific detail” about her personal life in order to damage her reputation as well.
Lacy, who wrote an article suggesting that passengers are more to likely to face sexual assault from an Uber driver than from a regular taxi driver, called these comments “horrifying.”
Michael was not aware that journalists were present at the dinner, listening to every single word he used. He probably wouldn’t have said that if someone had told him journalists were there. Michael ended up damaging the name of his company even more than he thought the news media did.
Michael had no option but to apologize because he really damaged his company’s name.
“My remarks were borne out of frustration during an informal debate over what I feel is sensationalistic media coverage of the company I am proud to work for,” Michael said on Monday. “My comments don’t reflect my actual views and I regret making them,” he added.
Despite Michael’s apology, his remarks are still being discussed all over the media as shocking.
According to a BuzzFeed report, Uber gained access to a reporter’s personal travel information just because the reporter was working on an article about the company. So, does this mean that Uber can obtain access to all its passengers’ personal information as well? … Maybe the federal government needs to keep an eye on this company’s efforts to access people’s private information.
Michael’s remarks might be the toughest challenges that Uber has ever faced. People are now doubting the company’s behavior.
What happened last week tells the world Uber is an untrustworthy company. Needless to say, Uber is getting a lot of negative publicity. This could damage the company’s growth for the next years if they don’t instill the value of morality within their company.