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People are boycotting Uber again after CEO’s comments about a murdered journalist

People are boycotting Uber again after CEO’s comments about a murdered journalist
[Photo: J.Barande/École polytechnique/Flickr]

People are calling for another boycott of Uber after CEO Dara Khosrowshahi called Saudi Arabia’s killing and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi “a serious mistake.”

The comment came during an interview Sunday with Khosrowshahi on Axios on HBO. By Monday morning, #BoycottUber was trending on Twitter.

The ride-share company has two significant ties to Saudi Arabia. The Middle Eastern country is Uber’s fifth-largest shareholder, and Yasir Al-Rumayyan, managing director of the country’s Public Investment Fund, sits on the San Francisco-based business’s board.

“We’ve made mistakes too, right, with self-driving,” Khosrowshahi continued during the interview. “So I think that people make mistakes. It doesn’t mean that they can never be forgiven.”

Social media lit up with comments about what many viewed as a tone-deaf stance.

About an hour after the interview, the Uber CEO reached out to Axios to edit what he’d said, according to a tweet by Dan Primack, the Axios business editor who conducted the interview. That was later followed up with a written statement.

“I said something in the moment that I do not believe. When it comes to Jamal Khashoggi, his murder was reprehensible and should not be forgotten or excused,” read what he sent to the media outlet, which posted it on its website.

One journalist pointed out that Khashoggi even used Uber to make his way around the Washington, D.C., area.

Uber has faced calls for boycotts before, such as when drivers went on strike in May to demand better wages and treatment. It also faced a massive #DeleteUber campaign in 2017 after New York City cabbies planned to strike in protest of President Trump’s controversial refugee ban. Uber nixed surge pricing at Kennedy International Airport at the time, a move critics saw as “strikebreaking.”

Washington Post journalist Khashoggi, a dissident who lived in Virginia and wrote critically about his birth country, was killed in October 2018 after he went into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

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