Buckle up, ‘cause this one’s a doozy.
Ex-Uber exec Mark MacGann leaked 124k+ emails, texts, and messages that reveal questionable behavior among execs — including MacGann himself — as the rideshare giant expanded.
The so-called “Uber Files” — obtained by The Guardian and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) — date back to 2013-17 when co-founder Travis Kalanick ran the company.
Kalanick resigned in 2017 due to pressure from shareholders amid accusations that Uber lied to authorities and fostered a hostile workplace culture.
Here’s the tea
Uber’s expansion met fierce resistance from the global taxi industry, which feared Uber’s convenience and cheap fares, subsidized by investors, would jeopardize livelihoods.
Things got particularly chaotic in Marseille, France, in 2015, where pro-taxi demonstrators blocked roadways and burned tires.
- Uber wanted its drivers to counterprotest. When one exec expressed concern for their safety, Kalanick replied, “I think it’s worth it. Violence guarantee[s] success.”
MacGann told The Guardian that “weaponizing” drivers was a strategy Uber used to keep controversy brewing and win favor with local governments.
But wait, there’s more
The documents also suggest that Uber:
- Offered financial stakes to influential figures around the world
- Paid academics to produce research supporting its economic claims
- Knowingly ignored and evaded local laws
- Secretly met with and schmoozed world leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, then-French Economy Minister
What does Uber have to say about this?
Uber said it wouldn’t make excuses for past behavior, but instead hopes to be judged on its last five years under the leadership of Kalanick’s replacement, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
Meanwhile, Kalanick’s spokesperson denied many of the claims in The Guardian and ICIJ’s reporting, and expressed doubt over the documents’ authenticity.
But, considering that The Guardian shared the Uber Files with 180 journalists in 29 countries, even more dirt is expected in the coming days.