Bad optics

Uber CEO caught on camera blaming driver for not being able to succeed

A video has emerged of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver about how the company treats its employees independent contractors, and it’s a real doozy.

If you’ve been out to a bar anytime in the last five years and left just barely remembering how to operate your two legs in an alternating pattern, then odds are you’ve interfaced with ride sharing apps like Uber and Lyft.

The two companies have been in fierce competition with one another, with Uber taking most of the heat for playing dirty.

Related: This Guy Turned Ride-Sharing Into A Real Drag

And more often than not, the drivers get the shortest end of the stick.

In the video obtained by Bloomberg, the notorious executive shimmies to Maroon Five while riding around San Francisco. The driver, Fawze Kamel, begins chatting with Kalanick once they arrive at the destination, and things rapidly turn from polite to tense.

Kamel complains that the company has been dropping its ridesharing fares so much, his own slice of the pie in the higher-end Uber Black is getting squashed in the process. Kalanick defends the actions as necessary to compete with Lyft, but in the process, becomes quite aggressive towards Kamel. He explains that people like Kamel “don’t like to take responsibility for their own sh*t” and instead try to blame other people for their problems.

Related: Ack: Another Uber Driver Kicked Out A Gay Couple For Kissing

Where have we heard that before? Oh, it’s the calling card of privileged conservatives — everyone can succeed if they just work hard. And if that doesn’t pan out, the only person to blame is yourself. Perhaps Kalanick learned this particular line while sitting on President Trump’s advisory council. Who knows?

As Engaget reports:

While it’s hard to know just how much Uber affected Kamel’s bottom line, there is some evidence to back up his claims. Uber drivers have complained that fare cuts are making the job unsustainable, and the company recently paid $20 million to resolve complaints that it exaggerated drivers’ potential income. At least for some workers, then, Uber isn’t nearly as alluring as it was in previous years.

Details aside, this is not how we would hope a CEO would speak to an employee at the lowest rung of the ladder — a rung that is designed not to lead up.

Watch below (their conversation begins at the 3:56 mark):

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  • Chris

    Guess it’s time to delete Uber and add Lyft.

    • ChrisK

      Yeah, I don’t do business with those lying blood suckers. The fact that Kalanick is a trump ass licker should be enough for people to dump the app. Lyft at least treats their drives like humans.

  • Goforit

    Kudos to Mr. Kamel for speaking up to the CEO of the company he works for. To many people in positions of power are insulated from the reality of what life is really like for the rest of us. Hopefully the majority of them respond to the information more positively than did this a..hole.


    Wow I didn’t know this guy was gay. Or the other guy was gay(?) Or the car was a particularly “gay” car???

    • kiriakis1

      Two out three things you mentioned are people. Or are gay sites not supposed to ever write about things that affect all people and not only gays?

      Snarkiness, the least effective weapon in the arsenal of the intellect.

    • DCguy

      Oh look, the fact that multiple lgbt people (I forgot, you log Cabin types only use “gay”) use these rideshare companies is ignored in your comment.


      @DCguy Wrong as usual, you lying hysteric. You suck the life outta this site you humourless scold, which is why I’ve always avoided your boring ass. And now I’ve concluded my business with you. Hopefully.

    • Mo Bro

      “Gay” car . . . well done, sir.

      In case you missed it, this site’s agenda is right there in its slogan: a gay one. So yes, it’s somewhat off-kilter to throw out a story about an angry spat between a of couple straight guys . . . unless you happen to label one of those straight guys a “privileged conservative.” Then it fits right in with this site’s anti-conservative agenda.

      So now you’re offended by those who say “gay” rather than spelling out half the alphabet? Allow me to remind you of this site’s slogan:
      Free of an agenda (except that GAY one)
      So, entertain us with more of your manufactured outrage. Pretty please.

    • DCguy


      Interesting, seeing as how I’ve never invited you anywhere that you could claim to “Avoid me” right in the middle of a rant directed right at me.

      So lets replay, here is a video about a gay driver discussing something with the gay CEO of a driving app that many lgbt people use in the cities and you are complaining that it isn’t a gay story.

      Sorry you got called out on that and it somehow upset you.

    • DCguy

      @Mo Bro

      Awww, it’s cute when you rant and prove my point for me. Thanks cupcake.

    • Mo Bro

      Your point being that Queerty must be “log cabin types,” since they use the word gay and not lgbt?


      @Mo Bro:

      That idiot must not realise inanimate objects can’t have sexualities — hence the quote marks around “gay” which occasioned his bizarre fücking outburst. Or at least I think that’s what got him riled up (enough to viciously unmask me as a dastardly gay Gruppenführer..oops I mean “gay”.) Then again who knows .. it doesn’t take much. This bitchass loser just likes the sound of his own outrage.

      That same mental deficit might explain the inability to comprehend the simple definition of “avoid” and its manifold permutations.

      Hysteria is a horrible mental infirmity to suffer and an even less pleasant thing to have to observe.

      This is a recent example of this embarrassing cringefück’s work:

      “Really this article is offensive and sounds like something written in the 1950’s to assure men that everything was just a phase and they weren’t REALLY bi or gay even though they were constantly thinking about or having sex with men.
      Shame on you.”

      –>Shame on you<–

      Loooool! Mary!

      What a hall-monitoring, overbearing, pompous, hysteric tool

  • davidkohl

    I might be wrong but I think that British courts ruled that the Uber ‘independent contractors’ are actually employees and entitled to all the benefits of an employee in the UK.
    That aside – this employer is simply behaving like a typical super rich right wing selfish greedy idiot does these days. His interest is purely in how much money he can make for himself by exploiting his employees and his customers. I don’t buy the ‘fake’ apology – that’s for publicity. People like him don’t regret being nasty or they would not do it in the first place.
    As for this being a ‘gay’ issue – everything is a gay issue because we are part of the same society as you. You may wish to exclude us ‘PrinceofSnarkness but you will not be allowed to. By the way – why do you always try to defend the grossest people in the USA?

    • ChrisK

      The courts keep ruling against Uber on the contractor vs employee thing. Fed ex tried that years ago and was told to stop. It’s a cheap way of not paying your employees things you should be doing and makes the public have to pick up the tab ie no insurance and many other benefits employees are entitled to.

      Travis Kalanick is Ayn Rand disciple. I get mine and f*ck the rest philosophy. Employees are looked at like animals for exploiting and nothing else. We should all worry about company’s like Uber because many other companies would like to do the same.

    • DMRX

      You may have missed it, but this happened in San Francisco, so what a British court may or may not have ruled is irrelevant.

  • MikeColling83

    I am forever confused as to why blue collar Americans vote republican. They are only voting against their own intrests.

    • davidkohl

      Its about aspiration. They think that by voting for the rich elite that they become part of it in some way. Added to that it is very likely they have been ‘persuaded’ by right wing propaganda that they are poor or suffering in some way because of ‘foreigners’ or ‘liberals’ or those receiving benefits or gays or anyone they don’t like. The most famous Minister of Lies was the Nazi Joseph Goebbels – he said that all you have to do is tell a big lie and keep repeating it – people will begin to believe it. This is why blue collar people vote for republican candidates. Added to this is the woeful lack of real political awareness and knowledge. Trump wooed the poor and uneducated and what has he done so far? Filled his administration with multi-billionaires who know nothing of poverty or suffering. He wants to spend billions on weapons of mass destruction for no good reason. Money that could be used to relieve poverty, provide health care for the poor and build infrastructure. Yet he still tries to blame all the problems in the USA on Mexicans and Muslims and gays. The blue collar workers have been lied to and fooled by the repulsive creature in the White House, and thatis why they voted for him.

    • DCguy

      @davidkohl Absolutly!

      I would also add in that they have had organizations like FOX News creating fake boogeymen for them to hate. So FOX and the GOP spend 3 decades attacking unions and keep telling their audience that unions are evil, that unions are corrupt, and that unions are going to cost the U.S. jobs by forcing work overseas.

      So the GOP has weakened unions and guess what….all those jobs moved overseas. Why? BECAUSE UNIONS WERE ONE OF THE THINGS PREVENTING THE COMPANIES FROM MOVING JOBS.

      If a company like Ford wanted to offshore jobs and move a plant, they got a nationwide strike and other unions wouldn’t cross the picket line in sympathy. So the factories stayed here. When the union got weekend what happened? CEO pay skyrockets, worker pay dropped and nobody prevented all those jobs from leaving.

      So when poor white republicans lament that they need more manufacturing jobs like they used to have….what they really mean is they need more union jobs like they used to have. Without the unions, those jobs will simply be more minimum wage jobs with no benefits, no different for them than if they worked at a Wal-Mart.

  • davidkohl

    In addition – the successors to the Reagan/Thatcher economic model have created an economy geared to the convenience of the rich and the multi-nationals. So we have things like ‘zero hours contracts’ – which means we will use you when we need you and not give you any employee benefits whilst claiming that this is giving you ‘choice’ and ‘freedom’. We have multi national like Amazon, Starbucks, McDonalds raking in huge sums of money in various European countries and paying paltry sums in taxation. The whole system is based on greed and selfishness. In the USA people die for lack of health care – it is shocking that some people have billions while others live and die in poverty and misery in the same country. This is the real lesson the blue collar workers need to learn. The rich get richer and the poor poorer.

    • DCguy

      Absolutely, we can triple the cost of our military and spend trillions over in Iraq and Afghanistan, but dare to suggest that we spend 100 billion on repairing the infrastructure of the nation or getting college costs funded or a national electrical grid, or healthcare and suddenly the country is broke.

      In other words, NOTHING that would give the taxpayer a return on our tax dollars is considered worthwhile, while ANYTHING that gives their contractor buddies and donors all of our tax dollars for doing something overseas is fine.

      The nasty secret they don’t want people to know. Kansas went from a surplus to near bankruptcy when it cut tax on corporations and the super wealthy. California raised taxes slightly on the super wealthy and went from a deficiet to a multi-billion dollar surplus. But the GOP doesn’t care, they just want to milk as much of the Taxpayer dollars as they can and then fly off to their homes in the Caymen or Cook islands while the country tanks.

    • ChrisK

      It’s a complete lack of empathy for anyone but themselves and sometimes those close to them. Look at Dick Cheney. Mary Cheney comes out and all of a sudden he’s pro SSM. However, her sister Liz went full on anti gay because it served her agenda better.

  • davidkohl

    It is easy on a site like this to just indulge in denial or name calling. Some people seem to think that serious points equate with a lack of humour or ‘pomposity’. Is this because they can’t answer the serious points and questions? The current political and social situation is no joke – we have a very unstable personality in control of the most powerful country in the world who rants at the drop of a hat and seeks to use his power to punish his critics. He surrounds himself with the super rich, the politically incompetent and the downright rude liars. None of this is a matter for levity. It makes the USA a laughing stock and it’s current ‘President’ a figure of hate, derision and mockery around he world.
    ALL people on this site have the right of free speech and freedom of expression – even those we disagree with. That is democracy in action.

  • Bob LaBlah

    I laughed when I saw this guy being nothing but himself and expressing his contempt for humanity itself. He cuts the rates for his drivers and says WHAT to the guy? I for one don’t see the need for Uber when local cab companies are not only cheaper but also in many cases have Lincoln Town Cars, which are very luxurious. Uber costs too damn much regardless of what city.

  • khan72

    Why doesn’t he have his own car and driver ? He has the money !

    • davidkohl

      Because like many of fellow uber rich parasites, he is a penny pinching scrooge. My housemate is the same – he gets angry if he has to flush the toilet because it will cost some miniscule amount of money – his income though is way above the average. The explanation – GREED.

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