SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Uber CEO Travis Kalanick on Thursday quit President Donald Trump’s business leaders’ forum, according to an internal memo obtained by The Associated Press.
Kalanick wrote that he’d spoken with Trump Thursday and “let him know that I would not be able to participate on his economic council. 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.”
The ride-sharing company has been buffeted all week by boycott campaigns that began when people perceived it as trying to break a taxi strike at New York’s JFK Airport. The strike was inspired by Trump’s executive order temporarily suspending the country’s refugee program.
The hashtag #DeleteUber was trending on social media throughout the weekend and into the week.
Kalanick subsequently condemned the executive order and has contributed to relief groups, but calls for a boycott have continued.
The backlash against Uber had revved up earlier Thursday in the Bay Area and across the nation as a protest pushed for Kalanick to cut ties with President Trump.
Jeffrey Buchanan helped organize the local protest that will include a day of rallies outside Uber offices in the Bay Area, New York, Seattle and other cities.
“We’re urging Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, to step down from the president’s economic advisory board,” explained Buchanan. “I’ve seen a lot of people on social media saying they’re no longer going to be driving on Uber.”
Thursday’s protest — dubbed #UberDrivesWithHate — comes on the eve of Trump’s first meeting with the economic council of which Kalanick had been a member.
The CEO had responded to the criticism earlier, saying he would pay Uber drivers who couldn’t get back into the U.S. because of the restrictions. He also said he would raise those concerns with the President Friday.
“We’re here to say you should not be profiting off of the immoral and unjust actions that have happened against our immigrant and refugee communities, especially here in Silicon Valley,” said Buchannan.
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