Homophobic Uber Driver Fired After Lesbian Couple Records His BS Rant
Uber has a lot of downsides besides its surge pricing. Sometimes the drivers just aren’t good, don’t know how to use their GPS, or insist on talking to you when you’re simply trying to nurse a hangover and get to brunch. And, sometimes the drivers are really bad, like the homophobic Uber driver who was fired for harassing a lesbian couple during their ride in Melbourne, Australia. The guy could have probably gotten away with it, too. At one point, he says, “What are you going to give me a one-star review?” But the driver, identified only as John, had some bad luck. Call it homophobic karma. One of the passengers, Lucy Thomas, is the CEO of an anti-bullying program called Project Rockit, so she knew what to do: Record him.
She and her girlfriend were in the back of the car talking about going to a football match and the “jovial” old driver, as Thomas describes him, started calling the players “Abo,”(which is a derogatory term for “Aborigine” down under), “retards,” and “faggots.” Thomas immediately recorded the conversation. In fact, instead of being offended and just getting out of the car (which is what my wimpy self might have done), she just keeps asking him more questions to get to the bottom of his steamy, hot homophobia, and he gets angrier and angrier. He eventually calls them “two faggots” and threatens to “drag” them out of the car, which is when they smartly decide to get the hell out of a potentially dangerous situation.
Uber responded to Thomas’ tweet to ask for details to investigate the situation and they ended up “sacking” good ol’ homophobic John within days. An Uber spokesperson told The Sydney Morning Herald that, “Uber does not tolerate any form of discrimination, and we have been in contact with this rider to offer our support.” They didn’t share details about the outcome, but did confirm that the driver has been “removed from the platform.” That’s one plus side to the car service: When you get in a car using an Uber app, everything is documented, so even if you’re not recording the bullshit coming out of the driver’s mouth, they can retrace your steps and take action if needed. It’s not the most perfect system, though.
Taking a cab is usually the safest option for women (or anyone really), especially if you’re out late. But you never really know who’re getting into a car with. There have been many documented sexual harassment and kidnapping cases that should make anyone a little wary of getting into a car. A group called “Who’s Driving You” has a comprehensive list of all the times an Uber ride has taken a scary turn for the rider. That group, though, is a pro-“regular taxi” group, aimed at taking Uber down for dominating the market of ride hailing. Because bad things happen in regular cabs, too. The only reason there is a comprehensive list of assaults and crimes being committed in Ubers, and not just unrelated stories here and there about those that occur in non-Uber taxis is because everything is recorded and documented through the app.
Sure, it’s not a perfect system and knowing that Uber is tracking your route might not be much of a comfort if you’re being kidnapped or something, but at least there’s a digital trail. And if all else fails, just tweet about it.