With the rise of rideshare services, another Uber passenger has come forward to say that she was attacked by her driver. This time, it was adjunct professor Lily Kim, who teaches in the Driehaus College of Business.
Two weeks ago, social media stormed with photos and video posted to Kim’s personal Facebook page. The short, 26 second video showed Kim and her driver getting into a verbal argument as the 41-year-old female Uber driver asked Kim to exit her car immediately.
According to Chicago police, driver “struck the victim in the face, causing minor abrasions” before leaving the scene.
Kim later posted photos of the injuries on her face and neck to Facebook and Twitter. The Facebook posts have since been removed.
Collin Dunn of Clifford Law Offices, Kim’s attorney, spoke to The DePaulia on her behalf.
Dunn said that Kim was headed to the Chicago Cub’s fifth playoff game from her home when the driver then decided that she would not be driving to Wrigleyville. Kim was in an unfamiliar area of Chicago and did not feel comfortable leaving the car, Dunn said.
What happened next is unclear, as the video cuts off abruptly.
“I don’t know if she threw her out (of the car),” Dunn said. “But she eventually got out of the car.”
Dunn said that once Kim was in the Uber, it was only after a short period of time that the driver refused to take her to Wrigley Field and asked her to leave the vehicle.
“Lily was not comfortable with this,” Dunn said. “At that point, the driver became combative, began swearing and told her to get out of the car.”
According to Chicago police, the 41-year-old Uber driver “struck the victim in the face, causing minor abrasions” before leaving the scene.
Demetrius Jordan, a professor in the same college and friend of Kim’s, said that both are regulars of Uber, using it often to get around to various events related to their positions. He said that nothing like this has ever happened before.
NBC and DNAinfo were the first news outlets to break news of the incident, and social media users flooded the comment sections on each article. A handful of users shared their own stories of being attacked by rideshare service drivers, while others left comments of support.
Some users, however, left comments calling Kim names and questioning her use of a potentially racially charged hashtag, “#GhettoBitch,” which hinted to users that there was more to the story than meets the eye.
Jordan said that while he did not think that Kim made the smartest choice of words, the Kim that was portrayed in the media is not the woman that he knows.
“I am worried about the implications of race and gender,” Jordan said. “There were things being said (about Kim) that weren’t true.”
Jordan said that he is still in shock about the incident.
“Most of what (Kim) does is in service to the community,” he said.
Dunn said that the language used on Kim’s social media posts are not the focus of their investigation moving forward.
Senior Junho Song, a former student of Kim’s, said that he knows her as a professor that constantly goes out of her way to support her students.
“I contacted her as soon as I heard about it and she sent me some different pictures of her wounded areas,” Song said. “She told me that she’s trying to file a lawsuit against Uber and the driver.”
Song said that he also does not know Kim as someone who is racist.
“We have the Korean Festival once every year in the summer. (…) She was one of the organizers of (the festival),” Song said. “The board members only wanted to include Koreans as workers and volunteers. As soon as she heard about it, she walked out.”
“She brought in a lot of different races and people from different races to the organization because, you know, I think that’s the right way to do it. And by like looking at it, I would never think that she’s a racist because she has more black friends, if anything, than Asian friends.”
John Stiglich, the attorney representing Uber, was out of the office and could not respond to The DePaulia’s request for comment.