Uber CEO Apologizes After Video Of Heated Exchange With Driver

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The CEO of the ridesharing service Uber is apologizing over a heated exchange between him and one of the company’s drivers who said he’s going bankrupt.

Dashcam video released by Bloomberg news shows CEO Travis Kalanick in the backseat of an Uber vehicle a few weeks ago and the driver –  identified by Bloomberg as Fawzi Kamel.

Things started to get awkward when Kamel accused Kalanick of dramatically slashing Uber rates. Kamal said the fare cuts have caused some drivers to lose trust in the brand.

Kamel: I lost $97,000 because of you. I bankrupt because of you.
Kalanick: look…
Kamel: Yes, yes, yes.
Kalanick: you know what…
Kamel: You keep changing every day. You keep changing every day.
Kalanick: Hold on a second, What have I changed about Black?
Kamel: huh?
Kalanick: What have I changed?
Kamel: You changed the whole business.
Kalanick: What? What?
Kamel: You dropped the prices.
Kalanick: On black?
Kamel: Yes, you did.

The ride with the CEO ended as every Uber ride does – with the driver and passenger giving each other a rating.

Kalanick: Some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own s**t.
Kamel: I take responsibility.
Kalanick: They blame everything in their life on somebody else.
Kamel: But why you sending an email for town car.
Kalanick: Good luck!
Kamel: Good luck to you too, but I know don’t gonna go far.

The driver reportedly gave the Uber CEO one star – the lowest possible rating.

Late Tuesday, Kalanick apologized in a memo to Uber employees writing, “It’s clear this video is a reflection of me and the criticism we’ve received is a stark reminder that I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up.This is the first time I’ve been willing to admit that I need leadership help and I intend to get it.”

The incident does not come at a good time for the company.

“This comes at a bad time for Uber. They’re trying to reshape their image for the public. And seeing their chief executive acting in a way that’s pretty aggressive, seems to confirm a lot of the public’s worst fears about Uber,” said Greg Besinger, a reporter with WSJ Technology.

The controversy also follows accusations of widespread sexism at Uber.

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