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“I take gays but they don’t normally do this.”
2014 was a bad year for Uber. The ride-sharing startup was embroiled in scandal after scandal, from numerous passenger assault charges to the revelation that Uber employees abused the app’s “God view” location-tracking feature.
As it turns out, 2015 isn’t looking much better for PR-wise. An Uber driver in London has been accused of kicking two men out of his cab, reportedly after catching the couple kissing and cuddling in the backseat.
According to ITV News, Corey Watts and Justin Sloat (not pictured above) ordered an Uber on New Year’s Eve in London’s Covent Garden at around 8pm. Shortly afterward, the driver kicked them out of the car. “I take gays but they don’t normally do this,” the driver reportedly told Watts and Sloat by way of an explanation.
After being ejected from the car, Watts and Sloat loudly protested: “I wanted to understand what he was thinking so I asked the driver: ‘Would you do the same thing if it was a guy or a girl?'” says Sloat. The driver reportedly sped away from them after that—though he did have the presence of mind to charge them for their brief journey. (Uber later refunded the fare.)
So how, exactly, is Uber responding to its latest PR shitstorm? In standard Uber fashion, pretty much: By doing immediate damage control. The company immediately suspended the driver, releasing a statement to ITV News.
“Uber does not tolerate any form of discrimination either by our partner drivers or towards our partner drivers.
“We opened an investigation from the moment we learned of this unacceptable incident and have been in contact with the rider to extended our sincere apologies and get further information.”
We hate to say it, Uber, but in light of the year you’ve had, the fact that you hired a homophobic driver might be the least of your problems.
H/T ITV News | Photo via nathanmac87/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
EJ Dickson is a writer and editor who primarily covers sex, dating, and relationships, with a special focus on the intersection of intimacy and technology. She served as the Daily Dot’s IRL editor from January 2014 to July 2015. Her work has since appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Mic, Bustle, Romper, and Men’s Health.