Ben Smith, Buzzfeed:
A senior executive at Uber suggested that the company should
consider hiring a team of opposition researchers to dig up dirt on
its critics in the media — and specifically to spread details of
the personal life of a female journalist who has criticized the
The executive, Emil Michael, made the comments in a conversation
he later said he believed was off the record. In a statement
through Uber Monday evening, he said he regretted them and that
they didn’t reflect his or the company’s views.
Whose views do they represent then, if not his own or Uber’s?
Over dinner, he outlined the notion of spending “a million
dollars” to hire four top opposition researchers and four
journalists. That team could, he said, help Uber fight back
against the press — they’d look into “your personal lives, your
families,” and give the media a taste of its own medicine.
Michael was particularly focused on one journalist, Sarah Lacy,
the editor of the Silicon Valley website PandoDaily, a sometimes
combative voice inside the industry. Lacy recently accused Uber of
“sexism and misogyny.” She
that she was deleting her Uber app after BuzzFeed News
that Uber appeared to be working with a French escort service. “I
don’t know how many more signals we need that the company simply
doesn’t respect us or prioritize our safety,” she wrote.
I’m sure this will change Lacy’s mind about Uber. She’s probably re-installing the app right now.
At the Waverly Inn dinner, it was suggested that a plan like the
one Michael floated could become a problem for Uber.
Michael responded: “Nobody would know it was us.”
There is something very wrong with this company. It’s like Richard Nixon came back from the grave and is running a startup.
★ Tuesday, 18 November 2014