UPDATE 2/28/17: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, in a letter to employees published Tuesday evening, has apologized. "By now I'm sure you've seen the video where I treated an Uber driver disrespectfully," Kalanick said. "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." Read the full statement here.
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A newly released video allegedly shows an argument between Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and driver Fawzi Kamel. The video, according to Bloomberg, was taken on Super Bowl Sunday when Kalanick and "two female friends" ordered a black car. At the end of the ride, Kamel took a moment to confront Kalanick about falling fares.
"You're raising the standards, and you're dropping the prices," Kamel told Kalanick, who denied that specific price drop before justifying price drops in general as simply a part of business. "Competitors?" Kamel replied. "Man, you had the business model in your hands. You could have the prices you want, but you choose to buy everybody a ride."
At one point, Kamel brought up the topic of Lyft into the discussion and told Kalanick that people don't trust him anymore. "I lost $97,000 because of you," Kamel said. "I'm bankrupt because of you." The two then argued about fares before Kalanick, who later reportedly earned a one-star rating from Kamel, said:
Some people don't like to take responsibility for their own shit. They blame everything in their life on somebody else. Good luck!
The video comes during a particularly controversial time for the popular car-for-hire company, whose 2017 thus far has included sexual harassment allegations from a former engineer as well as Trump-inspired backlash. Following the widespread #DeleteUber campaign, Kalanick peaced out on Trump's advisory council. In a letter to Uber employees published by Recode earlier this month, Kalanick claimed his position was in no way an endorsement of Trump or his policies.
"Earlier today I spoke briefly with the President about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community," Kalanick said at the time. "I also let him know that I would not be able to participate on his economic council. Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the President or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that."