As if Uber wasn’t already in enough hot water over recent claims by an employee about sexism inside the group, a brand new report has make clear one other troubling occasion of inappropriate conduct that the corporate wished individuals wouldn’t hear about.
According to The Information, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and his then-girlfriend, violinist Gabi Holzwarth, visited an escort-karaoke bar with 5 different staff within the South Korean capital of Seoul in 2014.
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Holzwarth stated that numerous ladies sporting numbered ID tags sat in a circle earlier than being picked by the male Uber staff to hitch them. A feminine advertising supervisor for the corporate who was additionally within the group advised Holzwarth that she’d complained to HR, as properly as to Kalanick about the episode that “made her feel horrible as a girl (seeing those girls with number tags and being called out is really degrading).”
The story is rising now as a result of Holzwarth acquired a name three weeks in the past from Uber’s senior VP of enterprise Emil Michael, who was additionally on the corporate outing that night time. According to Holzwarth, he expressed his fears about the incident being found by the media and requested her to easily say the group visited a karaoke bar.
It isn’t clear how Uber dealt with the difficulty internally. Speaking about his correspondence with Holzwarth, Michael – who beforehand suggested hiring researchers to dig up dirt on journalists so as to assist the corporate battle unfavorable press – advised The Information, “Her recollection of this conversation was different from mine and I am very sorry if the purpose of my call was misunderstood.”
Holzwarth additionally famous that across the time Holzwarth messaged the feminine Uber worker greater than a yr after the incident, Kalanick spoke to the advertising supervisor on the telephone and advised Holzwarth that he suspected his worker “must have a lawyer and wants something.”
Just over a month in the past, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler published a blog post alleging displays of sexism inside the firm. Following that, the corporate launched an inner investigation into the problems highlighted by Fowler; it’s being led by former US Attorney General Eric Holder and authorized counsel Tammy Albarran, as properly as board member Arianna Huffington.
The firm additionally saw its president Jeff Jones resign final week after simply six months in his new position, citing variations between his and Uber’s strategy to management. Kalanick & Co. are additionally on the hunt for a brand new COO.
Given the present state of affairs, Uber might want to work lengthy onerous to repair what Holzwarth has described as ‘systemic workplace problems and questionable management practices’ inside its group.
We’ve contacted Uber for additional remark and can replace this submit if there’s a response.