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Uber CEO speaks out: comments showed "lack of humanity"

Yet Travis Kalanick still has not fired Emil Michael for his plan to target journalists

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
November 18, 2014
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3a77

Uber, as you can imagine, is pretty unhappy with Emil Michael, its senior vice president of business, right now following comments that he made about wanting to discredit reporters who wrote bad things about the company.

That is not the image that any company wants to have, especially one that is already more than a bit troubled, as Uber's currently following a series of negative press stories recently. 

The company immediately back away from Michael's comments, and now Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has finally responded personally to the reports, writing a series of tweets on Tuesday, using come hard language, including saying that the comments were "terrible" and showed a "lack of humanity."

It is likely, though, that many will say that Kalanick simply did not go nearly far enough in his reply. In fact, for many, the only acceptable outcome of this would likely be Michael's firing, something that Kalanick does not yet seem prepared to do.

"Yet," of course, being the operative word. The sense I am getting from the words that Kalanick is using is that he is taking a wait and see approach.

Basically, if this blows over, as the company would obviously like it to, then Michael can go back to his job. If this scandal becomes an albatross around Uber's neck, however, and the company starts to see a significant loss in rider-share to its rivals, like Lyft, then would it shock anyone if he decided to let Michael go?

This scandal is only the latest dent to Uber's image in recent months. There were the accusations by Lyft of Uber purposely canceling rides and then of its former COO stealing documents to give to Uber. There were also the accusations that started the whole mess with Michael, a column in which writer Sarah Lacy said that she was deleting Uber after a report from Buzzfeed said that the service had been working with a French escort service.

That is not to mention a comment from Kalanick himself that the company should be renamed "Boober" because its success was getting him laid so often, a comment that may seem stupid and fairly innocuous, but takes on a different meaning when paired up with the other stories. 

These types of reports and incidents have a cumulative effect. They compound each other,  and the narrative around Uber has quickly shifted from, "technology that is distrupting an out-dated technology," to "this company is out of control and untrustworthy."

In all honestly, getting rid of Michael would be one easy step toward trying to repair the company's somewhat tarnished image. 

Here is Kalanick's full statement, in tweet form:

What do you think of Kalanick's response?  Does it go far enough? Sound off in the comments!

(Image source: time.com)


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