Even a board meeting about fixing pervasive sexism at Uber could not go without a male board member interrupting a female colleague to crack a gross, sexist joke.
At a time when the rideshare behemoth is flailing through a massive leadership crisis and reports about sexual harassment and workplace discrimination at the company are running rampant, billionaire investor and board member David Bonderman thought it would be a great idea to make an inappropriate quip during an all-hands meeting to address the mounting criticism.
As The Washington Post reported, board member Arianna Huffington was speaking about former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s report that offered 47 recommendations for improving internal workplace culture when she excitedly announced that Wan Ling Martello, the current executive vice president and head of the Asia Zone and former CFO of Nestle, was joining the board.
“There's a lot of data that shows when there's one woman on the board it's much more likely that there will be a second woman on the board,” she said.
According to a leaked audio recording obtained by Yahoo Finance, while other Uber employees appropriately commended the news, things became awkward when Bonderman responded with, “Actually, what it shows is that it's much more likely to be more talking.”
Insane. An Uber director's casual jokey misogyny during a presentation explaining how he and the rest of the board are fixing its culture https://t.co/6qhWD8Ukml— Farhad Manjoo 💰 (@fmanjoo) June 13, 2017
The tone-deaf joke did not land well at the meeting.
However, Huffington reportedly laughed off the comment, as most women usually tend to do under pressure in a workplace setting even in the face of explicit sexism.
“Oh come on, David,” she responded to the founding partner of TPG Capital as the rest of the room remained silent.
Shortly after the audio recording of the meeting began making rounds on the internet, Bonderman resigned from the company's board.
“Today at Uber’s all-hands meeting, I directed a comment to my colleague and friend Arianna Huffington that was careless, inappropriate and inexcusable,” he said in a statement. "The comment came across in a way that was the opposite of what I intended, but I understand the destructive effect it had, and I take full responsibility for that.”
from a source, this is Bonderman's apology, fwded from Liane Hornsey to all employees. pic.twitter.com/a3YhbvaRqs— ಠ_ಠ (@MikeIsaac) June 13, 2017
In a separate statement, Huffington also thanked Bonderman for his decision to step down from his position.
“I appreciate David doing the right thing for Uber at this time of critical cultural changes at the company,” she said.
"Now that Uber doesn't have a CEO, COO, CTO, or CFO, I guess this is the closest it's ever been to a self-driving car company" - @gsvpioneer— Mariya (@thinkmariya) June 13, 2017