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#DeleteUber Is Back, Thanks To Former Employee's Description Of Sexual Harassment

21/02/2017 5:02 AM AEDT
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Th Uber Technologies Inc. car service application (app) is demonstrated for a photograph on an Apple Inc. iPhone in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014. For San Francisco-based Uber Technologies Inc. which recently raised $1.2 billion of investors' financing at $17 billion valuation, New York is its biggest by revenue among the 150 cities in which it operates across 42 countries. The Hamptons are a pop-up market for high-end season weekends where the average trip is three time that of an average trip in New York City. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Uber probably wishes it could just be done with #DeleteUber already ― but the ride-hailing company can’t seem to put the protest in the rearview mirror.

The movement is seeing a revival thanks to a blog published by former Uber engineer Susan Fowler Sunday, in which she recalls her decision to leave the startup due to what she says was a nightmarish, sexist work environment.

Among other things, Fowler says that her manager sent her inappropriate sexual messages ― and that the institutional response was wildly disappointing.

“When I reported the situation,” she writes, “I was told by both HR and upper management that even though this was clearly sexual harassment and he was propositioning me, it was this man’s first offense, and that they wouldn’t feel comfortable giving him anything other than a warning and a stern talking-to.”

In response to what Fowler calls her “strange, fascinating, and slightly horrifying story,” people on Twitter dusted off the hashtag and once again called for users to delete Uber in protest:

The hashtag had originally spread in response to an ill-timed Uber promotion at JFK International Airport late last month, one seemingly intended to break a taxi strike in support of protesters gathered to decry President Donald Trump’s sweeping travel ban.

After more than 200,000 users deleted the app, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick decided to resign from Trump’s economic advisory council.

Shortly after Fowler published her blog post this week, Kalanick called for an internal investigation, writing: 

I have just read Susan Fowler’s blog. What she describes is abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in. It’s the first time this has come to my attention so I have instructed Liane Hornsey our new Chief Human Resources Officer to conduct an urgent investigation into these allegations. We seek to make Uber a just workplace FOR EVERYONE and there can be absolutely no place for this kind of behavior at Uber ― and anyone who behaves this way or thinks this is OK will be fired.

Uber board member Arianna Huffington, the former editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, also offered to lead an independent investigation:

An Uber spokesman declined to elaborate further to HuffPost, saying that Kalanick’s statement reflects the company’s sentiments.

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