Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is adamant the company is “principled” and a “positive member of the community” after a senior executive threatened to “dig dirt” on critcal journalists.
Emil Michael, senior vice-president of business at Uber, said that the taxi app should “spend a million dollars” to hire a team of researches to dig into the personal lives of journalists.
Michael’s comments, initially exposed by Buzzfeed, have picked up heavy criticism - including from his own CEO.
On Twitter Kalanick lambasted Michael’s comments, describing them as “terrible”. The Uber founder described them as a betrayal of the company’s values and “positive principles”.
His [Michael's] remarks showed a lack of leadership, a lack of humanity, and a departure from our values and ideals…...We should tell the stories of progress and appeal to people’s hearts and minds......We are up to the challenge to show that Uber is and will continue to be a positive member of the community.
Michael also issued his own statement earlier today. He said:
The remarks attributed to me at a private dinner - borne out of frustration during an informal debate over what I feel is sensationalistic media coverage of the company I am proud to work for - do not reflect my actual views and have no relation to the company's views or approach.
Michael’s comments had particularly focused on journalist Sarah Lacy, editor of Silicon Valley website Pando Daily. Lacy had written a scathing article on the company, accusing it of sexism.
Kalanick apologised directly to Lacy on Twitter.
Here’s Kalanick’s series of tweets in full: