about this project

On the evening of February 5, 2017, Travis Kalanick, then the CEO of Uber, got into an argument with an Uber driver about the substantial impacts that the company's reduced fares and changing policies were having on its workers. The encounter was recorded on video and posted to YouTube shortly afterwards.

In the video, Kalanick is defensive and shuts down the driver's concerns, and tells him that “Some people don't take responsibility for their own shit. They blame everything in their life on somebody else”. After the video was publicized, he issued an apology in the form of an email to Uber staff, stating that “I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up”.

Kalanick soon resigned as CEO of the company at the request of several of its investors. In addition to berating the driver, he was facing criticism for a culture of sexual harassment and discrimination within Uber's workplace, as well as its deceptive practices designed to circumvent law enforcement.

However, even though he is no longer in charge of the company, Kalanick's dismissive treatment of the driver points to larger structural concerns regarding the way Uber drivers are treated. In 2020, California voters passed Proposition 22, which was championed by gig-economy tech companies—including Uber—and which classifies drivers as contractors rather than employees, keeping them from accessing benefits and preventing them from unionizing.

Uber needs to be held accountable.

Uber should say sorry.