Uber has stepped forward to defend itself after one of its drivers was accused on Twitter of a racially motivated assault by a passenger.
A police officer attending the scene didn’t make any arrests, however, because neither party wanted to press charges, according to the driver and the company.
And the woman making the accusations, Washington, D.C., resident Bridget Todd, has since made her Twitter account private.
Last weekend, Todd tweeted at popular private-driving service app Uber to claim that her driver had pulled her out of the back of the car and choked her.
Here is Todd’s tweet, sent Saturday:
Valleywag was able to take screenshots of more than 30 of Todd’s tweets before Todd — a writer, activist and former lecturer at Howard University — made her account private.
Todd accused her driver, “David E.” of grabbing her out of the car by her throat because she was kissing her “white husband”. In her tweets, Todd says she believes the incident was racially provoked, though she admits she and her husband were both under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident.
Uber was quick to defend itself.
Here is the statement from the driver, “David E,” which Uber’s PR team gave to Business Insider:
I picked up the Uber user, Bridget, along with two other riders, a man and a woman at 9th & U Streets NW. The user was highly intoxicated. She started the trip by throwing an empty beer can out of the vehicle, which she got from inside of her purse. She said the beer was leaking out into her purse. I explained that she could get me a citation for having alcohol in the vehicle. She stated don’t worry she would pay for it. I also expressed concerns about the beer leaking in the vehicle and making a mess. As trip continued, user was conversing with other two people in the vehicle. The other woman remarked about how drunk Bridget was.
I dropped one person off, the other woman, and continued. The user began making out with her male friend. I was not bothered by this except that her shoes were dug into the seat. I asked nicely if she could take her shoes off the seats. She complied. Two minutes later she had both feet in the seat turned completely backwards in his lap. She had straddled him while he was faced forward. I said “Ma’am I just asked you not place your feet in my seats, please take your feet out of my seats.”
The user began to curse at me. She said “you work for me,” among other things, and asked me to stop the vehicle so she could get out. I said “gladly” and pulled over. As she got out she used both hands and slammed the car door with great force. I exited my vehicle to assess if there was any damage to the door and the seat. She continued cursing, ranting and raging on towards me in a threatening manner. She was hitting at the me, and tried at one point to knock my driving hat off. I pushed her away from me. She continued to come forward cursing. Her friend tried to hold her back but had a hard time. At this point a police woman came by and the user calmed down. The officer spoke with all parties. No report was made and no damage was noticed. Bridget and the man walked to their destination.
Uber drivers are independent contractors and not Uber employees.
Valleywag writer Nitasha Tiku was copied on another email, one from Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick. The email was sent to the entire Uber press team, Tiku says:
In the email, Kalanick blamed the media for thinking that Uber is “somehow liable for these incidents that aren’t even real in the first place.” Kalanick also stressed that Uber needs to “make sure these writers don’t come away thinking we are responsible even when these things do go bad.”
Uber provided the following statement to Business Insider:
It is our standard policy to de-activate drivers and clients as soon as an individual is accused of criminal activity. In situations where disputes occur between drivers and clients, we act swiftly to provide all parties with the information and support they need to pursue their legal rights to the fullest extent of the law.
Regarding the events that occurred this weekend, our understanding is that an argument broke out between the driver utilising Uber’s technology and one of his passengers, after he was provoked by the passenger. The police approached the scene and neither party elected to press charges. If legal action is taken, Uber remains committed to helping appropriate law enforcement agencies in any way possible.