Uber, a famously combative company, is under fire for comments made by senior VP Emil Michael, who suggested at a dinner party that the company should dig up dirt on journalists, including Pando’s Sarah Lacy, in reaction to critical coverage.

In an attempt to heal Uber’s name, chief executive Travis Kalanick came out on Twitter today to address the matter in the form of a tweetstorm (view it here, in full):

But after calling Michael’s comments “terrible,” and insisting that they “showed a lack of leadership [and] a lack of humanity,” Kalanick made it clear that the company has no plans to announce Michael’s departure — at least not yet:

This controversy amounts to incredibly poor timing for Uber, which just held an off-the-record meeting with journalists (us included) on Friday in an attempt to show off the company’s softer side. The incident overshadows Uber’s Spotify deal, and casts the company’s hostile nature in a particularly poor light. It’s one thing to see Uber blanket the entire taxi industry with insults; floating personal attacks is different.

We’ve asked for more details from Uber, but have yet to hear back from the company today by phone or email. Until then, we’re left waiting to see how Ubergate will play out.


VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative technology and transact. Our site delivers essential information on data technologies and strategies to guide you as you lead your organizations. We invite you to become a member of our community, to access:
  • up-to-date information on the subjects of interest to you
  • our newsletters
  • gated thought-leader content and discounted access to our prized events, such as Transform 2021: Learn More
  • networking features, and more
Become a member