More than 124,000 confidential documents related to
Much of the material comes from approximately 2014-2016, and it’s worth acknowledging that company leadership has since changed. Notably, Travis Kalanick, the company’s co-founder,
Here’s just a taste of what we know right now about the documents known as The Uber Files. And we’ve got to say: There’s plenty of cause here for Uber to do some soul-searching, no matter what its “present values” may be.
“Violence guarantee[s] success.”
The leaked documents paint a dark picture of what was happening in Uber’s C-suite as France responded angrily to the company’s presence in that country in January of 2016. On a single day in Paris that year,
Not only did Kalanick show apparent indifference toward the possibility that Uber drivers might be hurt by taxi drivers,
Execs called themselves “pirates”
According to The Guardian, one Uber senior executive wrote in an email: “We are not legal in many countries, we should avoid making antagonistic statements.”
That’s because they had “forms of active non-compliance with regulations” in more than half a dozen countries including Turkey, South Africa, Spain, the Czech Republic, Sweden, France, Germany, and Russia. In a comment about the tactics Uber used to avoid regulations and enforcement, another executive wrote: “We have officially become pirates.”
Employees knew they were doing illegal work
In 2014, Thailand shut down Uber when Thai authorities discovered that its drivers didn’t have the registration and insurance needed to operate commercial vehicles,
Secret deals with Emmanuel Macron
Amid Uber’s controversial rise in France, the company had a key ally in government: future French President Emmanuel Macron, who was a newly minted minister of the economy at the time.
And in July of 2015, Kalanick himself reportedly asked whether Bernard Cazeneuve, France’s interior could be trusted while the government was considering easing regulations on Uber in the hopes that the company might shut down it’s controversial discount service UberPop. Macron told Kalanick that he had met earlier with officials including Cazeneuve, and that they had made a “deal.” Hours later, Uber shut down UberPop. But when the files leaked, Cazeneuve
“Pyramid of shit”
Uber was a very fast-moving start-up. In its first five years, it was active in 31 countries and after just a few years it revolutionized the ride-hailing experience — but it hit a few bumps along the way.
Because it did not move slowly, one Uber exec called their initial approach “too brash,”
In a presentation, executives described this shitstorm as a “pyramid of shit” made up of “driver lawsuits,” “regulatory investigations,” “administrative procedures” and “direct litigation.”
Not everything in the document leak has yet been published, so this may just be the beginning of the story. Don’t be surprised if more ugliness from Uber’s past emerges in the days to come.