Uber’s CEO has caved to pressure from outside and within his organization, and has quit US President Donald Trump’s Business Advisory Group.
Kalanick’s initial decision to serve on the advisory group had sparked a backlash from within Uber, as employees vented their dissent both publicly and privately.
However, Kalanick began facing even more pressure to quit after Trump’s executive order banning immigration from 7 nations.
Reports by Reuters say many of Uber’s drivers were upset with Kalanick’s association with Trump.
It should be noted that Uber is headquartered in San Fransisco, one of the most left-wing cities in America.
“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,” said Kalanick.
While Trump has certainly been a controversial president so far, I can’t help but feel that much of the outrage has been overblown. Reading old articles, I saw that Kalanick has been to China to seek to grow Uber’s business there – it was later sold to China’s Didi Chuxing.
Strangely enough, there was no outrage over Kalanick meeting with a government that suppresses freedom of speech and religion, jails political opponents, and commits numerous human rights abuses.
China also allows barely any immigration, and is completely destroying the independence of the Tibetan people, not to mention threatening Taiwan with invasion on a regular basis.
All those attacking Kalanick for working on an advisory council – which implies only a willingness to share his perspective rather than agreeing with everything Trump does – were likely silent on any of Uber’s efforts in China, or attempts to get closer to the Chinese government.
That kind of double standard – between a flawed western democratic leader, and an oppressive communist regime – shows a loss of perspective, for which Kalanick and Uber paid the price.
Since Kalanick didn’t announce he was leaving Trump’s council “fast enough,” a social media campaign began making the rounds called “Delete Uber.”
The goal of the campaign was exactly what it sounds like, urging people to delete the app.
While people have the right to freely speak their minds and delete whatever they want, trying to punish Uber for their CEO being on an advisory council is way out of proportion.
Again, where was the “Delete Uber” campaign when Kalanick was courting China’s government?
It’s unfortunate that Kalanick quit the council under intense pressure, but understandable from a business perspective.
The reaction to Kalanick, and the UC Berkeley riots, points to an era where differences of opinion are not accepted or debated respectfully, but are instead shouted down and silenced.
That is a disturbing sign for a society that strives to be free.
Photo – Twitter