Noticing his two males passengers were kissing, an Uber driver advised the soon-to-be perturbed couple to “stop that or get out.”
Will Cooper from south London is only the latest gay man to have his ride rudely cut short by a homophobic Uber employee, and was sternly told mid-trip, “I don’t want two guys kissing in the back of my taxi.”
Talking to The Independent, Cooper says “When we got into the cab, we had a kiss on the back seat.”
It wasn’t heavy petting, it was a kiss that must have lasted less than three seconds.
“I would understand if we were both blind drunk but it wasn’t like that at all.
“We had just started driving and immediately the taxi driver said: ‘You guys need to stop that or get out.'”
Cooper, 25, claims he confronted the driver and told him he certainly wouldn’t have responded that way to a straight couple.
“He just sat in complete silence looking at me in the mirror,” he says. “He was eerily quiet. He didn’t seem to realize there was any problem with what he was saying at all.”
Cooper and his boyfriend subsequently left the vehicle and complained to the company, who refunded him five pounds and assured him they’d take the matter up with the offending driver.
“I feel like we have been completely fobbed off,” says Cooper. “Five pounds and a verbal agreement the driver is going to be told off is not acceptable.”
The Independent reached out to Uber, and the company sent them one of their customarily terse statements: “Uber celebrates diversity and does not tolerate any form of discrimination whatsoever.”
“I’ve never experienced homophobia like this before,” Cooper says. “And I came out in secondary school. That puts it in perspective.”
In the wake of Orlando, “I have never felt less safe as a gay person,” he says, “which is concerning because it’s never been a real issue for me before.”
“I can take this stuff but I don’t want it to happen to people who can’t,” he says. “How many people have had this happen before and haven’t said anything? That’s what worries me.”
Actually, quite a few. Just last week a gay couple in San Francisco was told that “fags rot in hell” after sharing a kiss on their way to Pride festivities. Overall, we’re writing stories like this far, far, far too frequently.