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Uber Exec Suggested Targeting Journalists Personally

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Uber Senior Vice President Emil Michael apologized for a suggestion he made recently about a way to get rid of bad press about the company. Indeed, the ride-sharing company has had its share of bad press, including a ban on operating in Berlin and Hamburg, Germany and accusations of dirty tactics from rival Lyft.

Uber tries to battle bad press

Of course by simply making the remarks, Michael himself became the source of the next bit of bad press for Uber. BuzzFeed reports that he suggested making public details about a female journalist’s personal life. The journalist is one of those who have publicly criticized the ride-sharing company.

Michael reportedly said that he made the controversial remarks in a conversation he thought was off the record. He said last night in a statement that he regretted making those remarks and that they did not accurately reflect his own or Uber’s views on what should be done about all the bad press.

Details on Michael’s suggestion

In making the suggestion that they target the journalist who has been critical of Uber, Michael also suggested that they spend “a million dollars” on hiring four top researchers to look into opposition, as well as four journalists. He said the team could enable Uber to battle the negative press by looking into “your personal lives, your families” of critical members of the media.

The executive was particularly interested in targeting PandoDaily editor Sara Lacy, who had recently accused Uber management of “sexism and misogyny.” She also said that she was deleting the Uber app from her phone after a report from BuzzFeed claimed that Uber seemed to be working with an escort service in France.

Michael was reportedly angry about her comments and said taxi drivers rather than Uber drivers were more likely to assault women.

Uber management seen as cold, callous

Uber’s management has been seen as extremely aggressive and insensitive despite the company’s success. Michael has been the company’s senior vice president of business for over a year. He reportedly suggested targeting the journalist in question at a dinner last week at Waverly Inn in Manhattan.

Many influential people were there, like publisher Arianna Huffington and actor Ed Norton. Ian Osborne, who works with Uber as a consultant and was previously one of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s advisers, hosted the dinner.

Other Uber management make comments

Michael wasn’t the only Uber executive who made comments at the party. Founder and CEO ravis Kalanick said the media had wrongfully painted him as being insensitive to the complaints of drivers and riders. However, he said he has been keeping his head down while he builds the company.

Journalist Michael Wolff invited one of BuzzFeed’s editors to the dinner. Wolff said later that he did not communicate that comments made at the dinner were supposed to be off the record. Also no member of Uber’s management indicated that remarks made at the even were off the record.

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