Take a stand: Delete car service app Uber

(Wikimedia Commons)

(Wikimedia Commons)

We should all stop using Uber.

Uber, a popular car service app, has recently become a controversial issue. Uber provides a cheap alternative to a taxi ride, and according to the New York Times, the company is worth an estimated $17 billion. Buzzfeed writer Ben Smith recently quoted senior Uber executive, Emil Michael, who promised a smear-campaign against journalists critical of the car-service app. Smith wrote in an article, “Over dinner, he outlined the notion of spending “a million dollars” to hire four top opposition researchers and four journalists. That team could, he said, help Uber fight back against the press — they’d look into “your personal lives, your families,” and give the media a taste of its own medicine…”

Journalist Sarah Lacy, the founder and editor-in-chief of PandoDaily, a news site focused on the technology industry, is of particular interest to Emil Michael.  She wrote a scathing column about Uber and its alleged hostility towards women. In an article entitled “Venture capital and the great big Silicon Valley asshole game,” she stated, Uber is “a company that prides itself on playing rough and aiming to break laws.” She reported that Uber has continually “vilified riders accusing their drivers of rape, assault or general bad behavior.”

Uber is riddled with sexism. For example, the CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick, in an interview with GQ magazine, commented on his newly acquired desirability after founding Uber, stating, “Yeah, we call that Boob-er.” Critics have also condemned Kalanick for his apparent lack of concern for the safety of female users of the app. Other important figures in the Tech industry have expressed their frustration with the app as well. According to an article in the New York Times, Lisa Abeyta, creator of the tech company APPCityLife, was a fan and frequent customer of Uber until she heard about the company’s proposed smear campaign against journalists critical of Uber. Ms. Abeyta said, “there is a difference between being competitive and being dirty… It is a bad-boy, jerk culture. And I can’t celebrate that.”

Users of the app, especially women, should be wary of the dangers they may face. ABC News 7 reported earlier this year that an Uber driver took an intoxicated woman to a hotel room and sexually assaulted her.  Additionally, Lacy said, “a driver accused of assault whom the company blindly defended had a criminal record that should have been caught in Uber’s background checks.” Despite these reports, the company has continually tried to reassure women that they are safe using their app. While the company does do background checks for its drivers, some have criticized these measures, saying that the checks are not thorough enough.

People should not hesitate to delete an app that is run by a company with a CEO that makes sexist remarks, employs a senior level executive that proposes the use of a smear-campaign as a way to silence critics, and has a questionable track record when it comes to protecting female users. Take a stand—delete the app.