An Australian couple’s Saturday night Uber ride turned ugly when their driver launched a homophobic rant aimed at the two women.
Melbourne resident Lucy Thomas, who happens to be the CEO of anti-bullying organization Project Rockit, recorded the exchange and shared it on Sunday. In the clip, Thomas can be heard confronting the driver about his language, prompting him to double down.
— Lucy Thomas OAM (@lucylockit_) June 5, 2016
“Why do you think it’s okay to use terms like faggot, Abo [an aboriginal slur], spastic retard while you’re driving an Uber?” she asks.
“I can do anything I want.” responds the driver, whom Thomas calls John in the clip. “When I write my report about two faggots who don’t like being called faggots, then what are they going to say?”
The driver then demands the lesbian couple get out of his car, telling them, “If you don’t, I’ll get out and drag you out.”
Uber’s Australian office immediately responded when Thomas posted the audio.
Please DM us as soon as you can Lucy – we take incidents like this very seriously and want to investigate immediately.
— Uber Australia (@Uber_Australia) June 6, 2016
On Monday, the ride-sharing company told the Sydney Morning Herald that the driver had been disallowed from driving for Uber in the future.
“Uber does not tolerate any form of discrimination, and we have been in contact with this rider to offer our support,” a spokesperson said in a statement sent to the Herald and other news outlets.
Thomas followed up on Twitter, saying that she had a good experience reporting the incident but noting that Uber’s privacy rules had initially prevented an agent from telling her whether the driver would be terminated.
On Monday, Thomas posted a note she received from a different Uber driver with a more supportive message.
Kind words from an über driver 💕 pic.twitter.com/oRawlFhDCv
— Lucy Thomas OAM 🌈 (@lucylockit_) June 6, 2016
The homophobic incident in Australia is the latest in a long line of ugly and sometimes violent Uber encounters, ranging from sexual harassment to rape and murder. The problem is so rampant that someone started a ride-sharing safety website, Whosdrivingyou.org, to collect reports of deaths, assaults, kidnappings, DUIs, and fake drivers and warn people about the risks.