An Australian Uber driver has been sacked from the popular ride-share service after two of his passengers recorded his hateful, homophobic rant hurled at them.
Lucy Thomas and her partner Chelsea Lang hailed an Uber after having dinner with friends, according to Mashable. The couple made small talk with their driver and asked if he was planning to watch an upcoming football game to which he replied:
“I hate football; it's for a bunch of fa--ots who go around touching each other.”
Thomas said that he told them this in a cheery tone — not yet realizing that the two women he was talking to were in a romantic relationship.
Ironically, Thomas is the CEO of an anti-bullying organization called PROJECT ROCKIT, so she did not just brush off the driver’s insensitive comments.
“I said 'listen, I understand the spirit of what you're saying, but for me and others in my generation, that word is totally offensive,'" Thomas reportedly recounted.
After getting scolded by Thomas, the driver’s pleasant tone changed and then he asked if the two women were together. When Lang confirmed that they were a couple, the driver became aggressive and threatening.
Thomas — thinking quickly on her feet — pulled out her phone to record all the terrible things the driver was saying to them and then posted it on Twitter on Monday.
The driver didn’t seem to care about being reported for his behavior; he taunted the women by sarcastically asking, “What, are you going to give me a one rating and make a complaint?”
He continued to berate them until he finally asked them to get out of his car and then threatened to drag them out if they didn’t oblige.
He had the audacity to also threaten to call the police on them! If anyone should have been reported to the authorities, it was him — not the innocent, paying customers whom he insulted and threatened.
After Thomas posted the recording and reported the incident, she received an immediate response from the company; however, the employee who helped her claimed that she would never be able to know if any disciplinary action would be taken against the driver “for the sake of his privacy.”
"It seems to be trying to obscure the process, rather than for his privacy," she said.
Despite what the employee told her, Thomas did learn later that the company removed the driver and she announced his termination on Twitter.
THEY SACKED HIM 🙌🏽🌈✨ thanks @UberAus— Lucy Thomas (@lucylockit_) June 6, 2016
While Uber’s code of conduct states that they have a “zero-tolerance policy” for harassment and abuse, it seems that their lenient vetting process doesn’t really ensure that their drivers share the values of the company.
“I think it would be healthy to see better screening around [drivers'] attitudes to diversity," Thomas said.
Even though the company promptly removes drivers who have been found discriminating or harassing passengers, a stronger screening process would be a preventative measure to stopping these incidents before they happen.
Thomas isn’t letting this incident make her jaded; she reportedly said she will still use Uber — noting that, “in all industries, there are going to be loose cannons.”
"Best case scenario, it could be a good learning experience,” she said. “We're in a rapidly growing world, and maybe this is one of those hiccups along the way. I'm glad it happened to me and not somebody else.”
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