Uber's CEO says he needs leadership help after a video has emerged of him arguing heatedly with a driver about fares.
In the latest embarrassment to beset the ride-hailing company, CEO Travis Kalanick is seen discussing Uber's business model with the driver.
In the dashcam video obtained by Bloomberg News, the driver argues that Kalanick is lowering fares and claims he lost $97,000 because of him. "I'm bankrupt because of you."
Kalanick lashes back. "You know what? Some people don't like to take responsibility for their own s---. They blame everything in their life on somebody else. Good luck," he said, then slamming the door.
After the video went public, Kalanick issued a statement to Uber employees. In it, he says he must "grow up" and apologizes to the driver, identified as Fawzi Kamel, as well as the driver community.
"This is the first time I've been willing to admit that I need leadership help and I intend to get it," he said.
In an interview with NBC News, Kamel said he thought the company made business decisions at the expense of the drivers.
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"Uber kept dropping prices every season to gain more ridership to satisfy their growth, and it didn't matter to Uber if the driver is not even making minimum wage," he said. "And the worst part is, they call us partners, [but] they make the rules, set the price and they even choose the cars you can use."
Bloomberg News reported the video was from early February this year.
It's the latest PR nightmare to hit Uber, which last week found itself in a sexual harassment firestorm. That stemmed from a detailed essay published by a former female Uber engineer, who charged that her prospects at the company evaporated after she complained about sexual advances from her boss. In the post about her year at Uber, Susan Fowler said the company's human resources department ignored her complaints because her boss was a high performer.
Kalanick called for an independent investigation of those issues, and the company hired former Attorney General Eric Holder to help.
On Tuesday, a top engineering executive, Amit Singhal, left Uber five weeks after his hire was announced. According to a report in the tech blog Recode, Singhal failed to disclose that he'd left his previous job at Google because of a sexual harassment allegation.