Column: The disgusting truth of Uber’s culture

Posted on Jun 22 2017 - 8:51am by Andrew Wildman

After months of scandal that had struck the ride sharing provider, Uber, the CEO, Travis Kalanick, stepped down on June 20.

These scandals range from a woman being told by Human Resources to not worry about someone sexually harassing her to an executive trying to cover up a rape committed by one of their drivers in India. After all of this was released to the public, Uber’s board hired a special counsel to do an investigation of the company.

The end result was twenty executives being fired, the Senior Vice President of Business resigning, and the resignation of the CEO.

Now you may be asking yourself, “How was a company allowed to run like this?”

It all stems from the culture within the company. Kalanick started his company in 2009 and developed a very  dog-eat-dog culture to expand his company.

This is not uncommon in Silicon Valley where companies are highly competitive. They want to expand quickly and aggressively.

The only problem is Kalanick never backed off of that company mentality. He treated the company like one big party. He did this to such an extent that in 2013 he sent out a memo informing people on how to have sex with another employee, which was made public by Recode.

Below is an excerpt from the email he sent:

“Do not have sex with another employee UNLESS a) you have asked that person for that privilege and they have responded with an emphatic ‘YES! I will have sex with you’ AND b) the two (or more) of you do not work in the same chain of command, Yes, that means that Travis will be celibate on this trip. #CEOLife #FML.”

That unprofessional email is just not something that a CEO should be writing to his employees. It’s things like this along with such an aggressive culture that leads a HR department to instruct a woman to ignore sexual harassment.  

Recently, Uber made a huge change-up. Arianna Huffington, a board member, just spoke at an all-hands meeting proclaiming a new future for Uber.

I hope they change, I really do, but when your company is run like an eccentric party, I don’t think they deserve a customer’s money. 

Andrew Wildman is a sophomore integrated marketing communications major from Laurel.