Uber’s PR Blunders A list that goes on and on

Uber’s PR Blunders: A list that goes on and on

Normally we cover only one PR Crisis for each brand in the Blast from the Past series, however, Uber seems to never learn from its mistakes. Believe it or not, Uber has an entire list of consecutive pr scandals that will make you wonder how the company is still in business. With never-ending missteps from its controversial CEO, to privacy issues and sexual harassment allegations, the series of scandals finally culminated with the company’s CEO, Travis Kalanick resigning from the post. Here is a list of few of the controversies that the company has been a part of so far. 

We Call it the Boob-er  

When Travis Kalanick was teased about his increasing desirability, he goes on to crack a sexist joke about women in demand by telling an Esquire reporter: “We call that Boob-er.” The Uber CEO faced a massive backlash for his comment back in February 2014.

Booking thousands of fake rides from its competitor Lyft

Uber was charged with booking more than thousands of fake rides from its competitor Lyft in an effort to sabotage its profits and services. Uber recruiters also attempted to target Lyft drivers in order to hire them and take them away from its competitor.

Uber’s God View that raised privacy concerns

Uber had technology named ‘God View’ that was used to spy on its customer’s locations raising serious privacy concerns about the company. It was also revealed that one manager had accessed the profile of a reporter without her permission.

Spying on Politicians & Celebrities including Beyoncé.

Uber tracked Beyonce's movements

A forensic investigator working for Uber testified against the company revealing that many of its employees spied on famous politicians and celebrities, including Beyoncé. 

Self-Driving Car Breaks Traffic Regulations

In December 2016, Uber releases a self-driving car in California without taking necessary permits.  The car ended up breaking traffic rules and ignored a red signal. Cycling Enthusiasts also raised concerns about how the self-driving car might be dangerous. Uber obviously said that its car broke the signal due to human error and not due to issues in the car itself. A report from the New York Times later issued that the statements made by the company were false and that the autonomous technology in itself failed.   

#DeleteUber Trends Online in January 2017

Due to a travel ban by President Donald Trump in January 2017, a taxi protest was held at the New York Airpot. Uber, however, continued to service rides while at the same time even surged its tariff prices.

Disgruntled customers went online and a #DeleteUber campaign started trending. The result of this campaign was a total of 50,000 users deleting their uber account. 

Sexual Harassment Scandal 

In February 2017, Uber engineer Susan Fowler went public with allegations of sexual harassment in the company. Former attorney general Eric Holder investigated her claims that caused widespread debate about sexism at the workplace. 

CEO Caught on Camera Insulting a Driver

Travis Kalanick was caught on camera yelling at one of his drivers when he complained that it was difficult to make a living due to the declining rates of Uber. In reaction to this, the CEO yelled at the driver saying: “Some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own shit…They blame everything in their life on somebody else. Good luck!” 

20 Employees Fired due to Sexual Harassment

Uber fired 20 employees due to sexual harassment allegations at the workplace in June 2017. 

Women Raped by Uber Driver in India

Women raped by Uber Driver in India

An Indian woman was raped by an Uber driver in June 2017. The woman sued Uber because a top executive  Eric Alexander had obtained the victim’s medical records and tried to cast doubt on the victim’s account. The records were shared with Travis Kalanick and Michael, the senior vice president of business. The three of them then theorized that the victim was part of a conspiracy by their rival Ola. 


So there you have it, this is just a few of the many scandals that Uber has been a part of. Needless to say, Uber needs to restructure the way they do things. The CEO Travis Kalanick did resign in 2017 after tremendous pressure by other board members in a letter personally written to him. This is definitely a good start, but there is a long way to go.

Odell Dias

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