SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A news website reported on Monday that an senior executive for Uber suggested that the company should consider hiring an opposition research team to find embarrassing information on media critics and specifically mentioned spreading details of the personal life of a female journalist who has criticized the company.
Senior Vice President Emil Michael for the San Francisco-based ridesharing service, made the comments during a conversation he later said he believed was off the record, according to the report in BuzzFeed News.
In a statement through Uber on Monday evening, Michael said he regretted the comments and that they didn’t reflect his or the company’s views.
Michael proposed the idea at a dinner Friday at Manhattan’s Waverly Inn attended by an influential New York crowd.
An unnamed BuzzFeed editor who was invited to the dinner said he was never told at the gathering would be off the record.
During the dinner, Michael outlined the idea of spending “a million dollars” to hire four top opposition researchers and four journalists, according to the report.
The team could, he said, help Uber fight back against the press by looking into “your personal lives, your families,” to give the media “a taste of its own medicine.”
Michael also focused on one journalist, Sarah Lacy, the editor of the Silicon Valley website PandoDaily.
Lacy had recently accused Uber of “sexism and misogyny” and wrote that she was deleting her Uber app after BuzzFeed News reported that Uber appeared to be working with a French escort service.
Lacy responded in a blog that “forces more powerful than me in the Valley– or even DC– have to see this latest horror as a wakeup call.”
Read More Uber Stories:
- Report Links Increased San Francisco Traffic Congestion To Uber, Lyft
- Cab Drivers Wary Of Proposed San Francisco Taxi Industry Reforms
- Report: Uber IPO Could Put Company Value At $120 Billion
- I Was In Shock! Uber Driver Talks About Security Guard Attack At Corporate HQ
- Security Guard Tackles Uber Driver Outside Company Headquarters
- Silicon Valley Wrestles With Saudi Arabia Ties
While Michael never suggested that Uber had actually hired opposition researchers, or had any plans to, he said the company would be justified to do so.
During the conversation, someone who was unnamed responded that the plan could be a problem for the company. But Michael said that “no one would know it was us.”
Michael has since apologized repeatedly to both Lacy and Uber users at large, as has CEO Travis Kalanick.
Meanwhile, blowback on the Internet has been strong with many on Twitter stating that they would delete the ridesharing app from their smartphones.
- Viral Video Of Texas Road Rage Incident Gets ‘Star Wars’ Treatment
- Kim Kardashian-West Talks Sexuality, Family Life, Caitlyn Jenner In San Francisco Commonwealth Club Interview
- N. California Woman Seeks Couple She Snapped Getting Engaged On The Eiffel Tower
- ‘Jimmy Kimmel’ Goes To Oakland For Warriors Edition Of ‘Lie Witness News’
- ‘Roaracle’ Is The Loudest NBA Arena, But Could All That Noise Affect Your Hearing?
- Watch Stephen Curry Rapping As A College Student In Recently Uncovered Video