Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and Saudi Arabia face backlash online under the #boycottuber hashtag after CEO calls the Khashoggi murder, a “mistake”.
Dara Khosrowshahi, the CEO of the American multinational ride-sharing company Uber, has described the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year by Saudi Arabia as a “serious mistake” in an interview with Axios on HBO.
He compared the Washington Post columnist’s murder by Saudi agents inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate to a death caused by one of his company’s self-driving cars.
“It’s [murdering of Khashoggi] a serious mistake. We’ve made mistakes too, with self-driving, and we stopped driving and we’re recovering from that mistake,” he said in the interview.
“So I think that people make mistakes. It doesn’t mean they can never be forgiven. I think they’ve taken it seriously...”
Saudi Arabia, through the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, is one of the five biggest shareholders in the company.
After the interview he apologised on Twitter: “There’s no forgiving or forgetting what happened to Jamal Khashoggi & I was wrong to call it a ‘mistake’.”
There's no forgiving or forgetting what happened to Jamal Khashoggi & I was wrong to call it a “mistake.” As I told @danprimack after our interview, I said something in the moment I don't believe. Our investors have long known my views here & I'm sorry I wasn’t as clear on Axios https://t.co/RxapzktrXq— dara khosrowshahi (@dkhos) November 11, 2019
Many people reacted on Twitter under the #boycottuber hashtag after Khosrowshahi’s comments.
Khashoggi’s former editor at the Washington Post, Karen Attiah, said on Twitter that when you're rich, your crimes become "mistakes".
Everyone who uses Uber should consider the implications of @dkhos's words— Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) November 11, 2019
If one of @Uber's main investors kills someone it doesn't really matter. A representative of a murderous regime can still keep a board seat.
When you're rich, your crimes become "mistakes". #BoycottUber
She then deleted the Uber application from her phone.
Another user said Khosrowshahi’s initial comments show who he is.
“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time." - Maya Angelou.— Ellen K. Pao (@ekp) November 11, 2019
I stopped using Uber over three years ago, and I would have felt guilty if I had not. #BoycottUber https://t.co/Hsuy7HbNTD
Others said that the assassination was an order by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, not a mistake
#BoycottUber “mistake” is when I bumped the door. What happen to Khashoggi is intent to murder. No one brings a BoneSaw by mistake. Body parts in pieces is not a mistake. MBS order this hit, that’s an order not a mistake. Never using Uber again. 🤬🤬🤬— Denise Wu (@denisewu) November 11, 2019
@Uber I have deleted your app and will no longer be using your services after your CEO's comment regarding Jamal Khashoggi. His assassination was brutal and cruel, and approved by Mohammed Bin Salman.— Kevin Wright (@Kev_in_Canada) November 12, 2019
No apologies, you should lobby governments to enact sanctions.#BoycottUber
This isn’t the first time Uber or its CEO have faced public backlash. Former CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick resigned in 2017 following months-long pressure over sexual harassment at the company, gender discrimination and a toxic workplace.