Uber CEO Travis Kalanick
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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has dropped out of President Trump’s economic advisory council after backlash from customers that spurred a viral #DeleteUber social media revolt and internal dissent. Uber confirmed to BuzzFeed News that Kalanick has left the group.
News of Kalanick's decision was first reported by The New York Times.
Kalanick's decision to resign from the advisory group before its first meeting this Friday comes after a protest outside the company's San Francisco headquarters the day of Trump's inauguration, and after Uber was forced to automate its account-deletion process following a viral #DeleteUber campaign. At an all-hands meeting with employees on Tuesday in San Francisco, Kalanick said sitting on the council would offer a better chance for Uber to affect change, sources present at the meeting told BuzzFeed News.
The #DeleteUber social media revolt began Saturday night, about a day after Trump's controversial executive order restricting immigration – hours after Uber had already announced it would pay drivers affected the order for three months if they could not work. Since then, many thousands of customers have deleted their accounts. Kalanick, who previously had not spoken to Trump, told employees in a memo that “Earlier today I spoke briefly with the President about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community.” Kalanick had previously described his choice to attend the first meeting of the White House advisory group as a means to express dissent against measures like the immigration ban as a voice on the inside.
Protests were scheduled to take place at Uber offices throughout the country — including San Francisco, New York and New Orleans — on Thursday; organizers in Palo Alto said those demonstrations will continue, despite Kalanick’s decision to step down as an advisor to Trump.
Here's the full email Kalanick sent employees announcing his departure from the advisory group:
Dear Team,Earlier today I spoke briefly with the President about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community. I also 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.I spent a lot of time thinking about this and mapping it to our values. There are a couple that are particularly relevant:Inside Out – The implicit assumption that Uber (or I) was somehow endorsing the Administration’s agenda has created a perception-reality gap between who people think we are, and who we actually are.Just Change – We must believe that the actions we take ultimately move the ball forward. There are many ways we will continue to advocate for just change on immigration but staying on the council was going to get in the way of that. The executive order is hurting many people in communities all across America. Families are being separated, people are stranded overseas and there’s a growing fear the U.S. is no longer a place that welcomes immigrants.Immigration and openness to refugees is an important part of our country’s success and quite honestly to Uber’s. I am incredibly proud to work directly with people like Thuan and Emil, both of whom were refugees who came here to build a better life for themselves. I know it has been a tough week for many of you and your families, as well as many thousands of drivers whose stories are heartfelt and heart-wrenching.Please know, your questions and stories on Tuesday, along with what I heard from drivers, have kept me resilient and reminded me of one of our most essential cultural values, Be Yourself. We will fight for the rights of immigrants in our communities so that each of us can be who we are with optimism and hope for the future.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.