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Monday, March 7, 2016

"You Raped My Wallet" and People Named "Rape": Uber's Bizarre Defense of Rape Allegations

Posted By on Mon, Mar 7, 2016 at 2:32 PM

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Over the weekend, BuzzFeed News published screenshots purported to be from the desktop computers of Uber customer service  representatives, showing what appear to be 11,000 customer service requests alleging rape or sexual assault from Uber passengers and drivers.

This bombshell was paired with another report that outlined how the company had replaced U.S.-based customer service representatives (all contractors, of course) from U.S.-based "Centers of Excellence" — Uber's terminology  — to cheaper contract labor based overseas. 

Uber immediately dismissed the numbers and offered its own. There were only five complaints of rape between 2012 and 2015, and 170 "legitimate" complaints of sexual assault over that same time frame, according to the company. The reason for the vast discrepancy? People named Rape, people with the word "Rape" in their name (Like Don Draper, the company says) and people saying stuff like, "you raped my wallet."

BuzzFeed's screenshots purport to show 5,827 customer service tickets complaining of "rape," and over 6,100 tickets complaining of sexual assault. It was not immediately clear what time frame is covered. 

Uber declined to allow a BuzzFeed reporter to sit with an Uber customer service representative to check the screenshots' veracity, citing privacy concerns, but insisted on five rape reports and 170 sexual assault reports over a three-year period. 

The company did say that it has had 80 passengers and drivers with the either the word "Rape" as a first or last name use its service. Uber reps also said that it is seeking s seeking out the identity of the customer service representative who leaked the screenshots to Buzzfeed.

So is it 11,000, or 175? 

This is a bad PR day for Uber, which appears to be moving on. Or dreaming of an island vacation.

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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