A New York millionaire’s son is now under investigation by the University of Michigan and his fraternity after a video, purportedly showing the student’s foul-mouthed, homophobic rant against an Uber driver, was leaked online.
The viral video posted to YouTube by Uber driver Artur Zawada on March 23 depicts a college man shouting anti-gay slurs at Zawada.
“F--k you, Arthur, you little f---ot f--k,” the man says. “You wanna kick me off? Kick me off, you little piece of s--t. You’re an Uber driver. Go f--king drive, you little f--k. Minimum wage f---ot, go f--k yourself.”
The man is allegedly Jake Croman, the son of multimillionaire real estate mogul Steven Croman — a man who has been under investigation for using illegal tactics to push out rent-stabilized tenants from their homes.
Zawada said that he had been consistently harassed by Croman — going as far as to use other people’s accounts to reach the Uber driver. Zawada told him he was requesting Uber to ban him from using the service.
“I told him on [the] 3rd occasion that I requested Uber to banned [sic] him but he is/was using friends accounts. Told him and his friends that I will not take them and that he/they need to get out of my car,” he wrote.
“He had [the] option to cancel to avoid any issues,” Zawada continued, “but he/they proceeded to abuse, harrase [sic], belittle and provoke like kindergarten thugs.”
According to MLive.com, report was filed with the Ann Arbor Police Department and the university is awaiting the outcome of that report before moving forward with any investigation. Croman’s fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon, is also investigating the matter and released a statement regarding the incident.
"At the conclusion of our swift, thorough investigation, we will handle the situation with appropriate action," the statement read. "Depending on the details of the investigation, this could include the expulsion of membership.”
In light of the viral altercation, Croman has spoken out to salvage his name and provide a different perspective to this story.
Speaking to The Washington Post, Croman — who is Jewish — details that he was “provoked” after Zawada made anti-Semitic remarks.
“This video shows one side of an argument I had with an Uber driver two weeks ago after he refused to pick me up on the basis of my religion,” Croman said. “What you don’t see in the video is that the driver had made a number of offensive anti-Semitic remarks that provoked my response.”
He added, “I am not proud of my reaction to his discrimination and I regret my choice of words.”
According to the Michigan Review, Zawada has repeatedly been accused of rampant anti-Semitism, even calling Jews k----.
Yet Zawada — a Polish immigrant — denies the accusations, noting “half the Jewish people who founded Israel were Polish citizens.”
“I have Jewish friends,” he said. “I have professors I know at the University of Michigan who are Jewish. I worked for my boss and he was Jewish.”
Whether or not Zawada’s frequent anti-Semitism is true, the response from Croman was still woefully inexcusable. You cannot fight derogatory statements with bigoted slurs. It only fuels more hatred.
Uber has suspended both the rider and driver’s accounts pending an investigation.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Ginnette Riquelme