Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick reportedly saw violence against drivers as a tool for growth

A new trove of leaked documents has cast an unfavorable light on Uber’s early days. The leak, dubbed Uber Files, consists of about 124,000 internal company documents, including more than 83,000 emails and text messages exchanged between former CEO Travis Kalanick and other executives, dating between 2013 and 2017. The latter marks the year that Kalanick resigned as CEO of Uber dejected amid mounting controversy.

Cooperation with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), The guard shared the fund with 180 journalists in 40 branches in 29 countries. The documents show a company willing to do things that many of its own executives thought were “bloody illegal.”

In 2016, for example, Kalanick reportedly ordered French employees to encourage local Uber drivers to protest the taxi strikes then taking place in Paris. When an executive warned Kalanick that “far-right thugs” were part of the protest, the former CEO pushed back. “I think it’s worth it,” he said. “Violence guarantee[s] Success. And these guys have to be resisted, right?”

A former executive tells The guard the Kalanick’s response was consistent with a “gun” drivers strategy and playbook the company drew on in other countries.

Another selection of documents describes the efforts the company has made to evade regulatory scrutiny. In at least 12 cases, Uber has instructed employees in local offices in six countries, including France, the Netherlands and India, to use the “kill switch,” an internal tool the company developed to protect its data.

“Please pull the kill button as soon as possible,” Kalanick wrote in an email shared by The Washington Post. “Access must be turned off in AMS,” he added, referring to the company’s Amsterdam office. In two cases involving Uber’s Montreal office, authorities entered the building only to see all the computers and tablets before resetting them simultaneously. The company said The post “Such software should never have been used to thwart legitimate government action,” and that it stopped using the system in 2017.

“We have not and will not make excuses for past behavior that is clearly inconsistent with our current values,” said Jill Hazelbaker, Uber’s senior vice president of marketing and public affairs, in a statement the company issued afterwards The guard published its findings on the Uber files. “Instead, we’re asking the public to judge us on what we’ve done in the last five years and what we will do in the years to come.”

In a statement released by the ICIJ, Travis Kalanick’s spokesman said any suggestion that the former executive “directed, engaged in, or was involved in illegal or improper conduct” was “completely untrue.”

“The reality was that Uber’s expansion initiatives were led by over a hundred executives in dozens of countries around the world, and at all times were under the direct oversight and with the full consent of Uber’s robust legal, policy and compliance groups.” , they added.

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Russell Falcon

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