Some people hate it when their Uber driver gets chatty. If you are one of those people, you still probably won't feel too bad for Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who got into a fight with his Uber Black driver, Fawzi Kamel, on Super Bowl Sunday. Kamel turned a 6-minute dashboard video of Kalanick's ride over to Bloomberg, which released it to the world. Most of the ride was pretty boring, just Kalanick and his two female friends making small talk with the radio playing. But as Kalanick was preparing to get out when they arrived at their destination (at about the 4-minute mark), Kamel decided he wanted to talk shop, specifically to complain about changes to Uber's business model he says are hurting drivers of the upscale Black cars.
Kalanick at first said Uber wasn't dropping prices, then said the company had to cut prices amid tough competition, then called B.S. on Kamel's assertion that Uber dropped prices on Black service. Then Kalanick lost his temper. "Some people don't like to take responsibility for their own sh-t," he said. "They blame everything in their life on somebody else. Good luck!"
Bloomberg backs Kamel up. "Black car drivers get paid less and their business faces far more competition from other Uber services," writes Eric Newcomer. Kalanick, 40, apologized to Kamel after Bloomberg released the video, saying in an email to Uber employees that he is "ashamed" of his actions and they have led him finally "to admit that I need leadership help and I intend to get it." The video, he said, is clearly "a reflection of me — and the criticism we've received is a stark reminder that I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up."
Kalanick's leaked ride topped a bad three months for the company he co-founded, and a particularly lousy February — a month that began with more than 200,000 Uber customers deleting their accounts over President Trump and then moved on to a tell-all blog post from a former female software engineer at Uber who wrote about widespread sexual harassment and HR stonewalling, a lawsuit over self-driving car trade secrets allegedly pilfered from Alphabet, and the resignation Monday of Uber's head of engineering who was apparently accused of sexual harassment when he worked at Alphabet (he denies the charges). On top of that, on Super Bowl Sunday, Kamel gave the owner of Uber a one-star customer rating.