More than 200,000 people deleted their Uber accounts after a weekend of outrage aimed at the ride-hailing company, according to The New York Times.
Furious Uber riders had deleted the app after the company continued operating its service at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday, undermining a taxi strike intended to protest President Trump’s immigration ban.
To make matters worse, Uber even announced that it was switching off surge pricing halfway through the strike, creating the impression that it had sought to capitalise on the situation.
The company was seen as both profiting off the taxi strike and supporting the executive order since its CEO, Travis Kalanick, served on an economic council for the president.
The outrage was swift. Despite also seeing a spike in downloads for its app, the hundreds of thousands of deletions of the Uber app was unprecedented for the company. Uber quickly had to implement a new automatic system to handle the onslaught of requests.
“Not meant to be an endorsement”
Uber has had its share of controversy in the past, thanks to its outspoken CEO and aggressive business tactics. But the company’s association with Trump appears to be causing big problems inside and outside.
Business Insider published a leaked email from its CTO that said he would “never accept” Trump as his leader. It was re-circulating internally after protestors formed a human chain and blocked Uber’s headquarters on Inauguration Day.
During Kalanick’s all hands on Tuesday, employees confronted their CEO about the company’s perceived pro-Trump connections in the fallout from the #DeleteUber campaign which had gone viral over the weekend.
Kalanick decided on Thursday to remove himself from the position of economic adviser and not attend the council’s upcoming meeting with President Trump on Friday.
“Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the President or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that,” Kalanick said in his memo.