Uber’s Proposed War on its Press Critics

On November 19, 2014, the San Francisco Chronicle broke a story from BUZZFEED that a senior executive at Uber suggested the company consider hiring opposition researchers to dig up dirt on its critics in the media — and specifically to spread details of the personal life of a female journalist who has criticized the company.

Click here to read the BUZZFEED article: Uber Executive Suggests Digging Up Dirt On Journalists

According to BUZZFEED, the executive is identified as Emil Michael, a one-year veteran, who is Senior Vice President of the 18 billion giant.  The remarks were made at a dinner in New York at Waverly Inn on November 14, 2014.  Also, present at the dinner was Uber founder Travis Kalanick, who according to BUZZFEED, “made the case that he has been miscast as an ideologue and as insensitive to driver and rider complaints.”

Michel made the case during dinner for the “notion of spending ‘a million dollars’ to hire four top opposition researchers and four journalists.  That team could, he said, help Uber fight back against the press — they’d look into ‘your personal lives, your families,’ and give the media a taste of its own medicine.”

Apparently, the Uber folks never heard of Richard Nixon’s war on the press, or numerous others, who in their arrogance tried to silence criticism.  Uber later issued a statement denying it did any opposition research or even considered it.

Click here to read the full SF Chronicle article: Uber exec: Dig up dirt on journalists

A group of San Francisco taxi drivers, who have undergone police background checks, drive cars with meters that have regulated rates to prevent consumer gouging, have the statutorily required insurance to protect passengers as well as third parties in the event of an accident, and drive vehicles that have undergone periodic safety checks, all of which is required by law, are suing Uber on the basis it is a transportation company who has gained an unfair advantage by not complying with the law (e.g. not having insurance, not having the expense of inspecting and maintaining vehicles, or complying with other statutory requirements), and taken customers from the cabbies who are following the law.  (See San Francisco Superior Court NO. CGC 12-526017)

If you would like more information on this case, please contact The Brandi Law Firm at tjb@brandilaw.com.

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