Uber Chief Apologizes for Senior Executive’s ‘Terrible’ Attack on Journalists

The ride-sharing service’s CEO Travis Kalanick tweeted out his regrets on Tuesday over Emil Michael’s earlier comments

Uber, CEO Travis Kalanick
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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick publicly apologized Tuesday for the words and actions of his employee Emil Michael, the senior vice president for business who recently suggested the vehicle-for-hire company should be digging up dirt on journalists.

“Emil’s comments at the recent dinner party were terrible and do not represent the company,” he wrote on Twitter. “His remarks showed a lack of leadership, a lack of humanity, and a departure from our values and ideals.”

As TheWrap previously reported, Michael allegedly made the comments at a dinner Friday night, which was attended by several journalists and at least one BuzzFeed editor. Journalist Michael Wolff, who had invited the BuzzFeed editor as his guest, purportedly neglected to state that the dinner was off the record. But the story broke Monday on BuzzFeed News.

Shortly after the dinner, Michael apologized for his comments, which he believed were off the record, in a statement.

“The remarks attributed to me at a private dinner — borne out of frustration during an informal debate over what I feel is sensationalistic media coverage of the company I am proud to work for — do not reflect my actual views and have no relation to the company’s views or approach. They were wrong no matter the circumstance and I regret them,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kalanick was quick to point out in his own apology that Michael is a vice president involved with business at the company, but not necessarily representative of the company’s approach: “His duties here at Uber do not involve communications strategy or plans and are not representative in any way of the company approach.”

BuzzFeed’s executive chairman and Huffington Post co-founder Kenneth Lerer isn’t satisfied with either response.

“The Uber exec Emil Michael said it was fair game to attack journalists who criticize Uber,” Lerer tweeted on Tuesday afternoon, shortly after Uber’s CEO issued his online apology.

“That is so insane. It’s more than a slippery slope, it’s a road to ruin,” he added. “If Uber were a publicly held company, this Uber exec would be gone already. So who is responsible there? So far no one. David Plouffe, President Obama’s former Senior Advisor is now with Uber. He must understand how important this is. Why not a word?”

Here are some of Kalanick’s most relevant tweets: