An ‘Uber’ public relations disaster

(Photo by Sarai Cruz)

People are thinking twice about downloading the Uber app on their phone due to scandal. Photo by Sarai Cruz.

By Chloe Weber

Uber can’t seem to escape the critics.

The ridesharing service, founded in 2009, is once again in the news, as Emil Michael, senior vice president of business, recently made comments suggesting the company should hire researchers to dig up dirt on journalists for the sole purpose of smearing their names.

Specifically, Michael targeted Sarah Lacy, editor of the Silicon Valley website PandoDaily, who accused Uber of “sexism and misogyny” after she found out that Uber reportedly works with a French escort service.

He said Uber would be justified in using personal information about Lacy to get back at her for making the comments.

As always in situations such as these, Michael immediately retracted his statements once the media picked up on it, claiming they did not reflect Uber’s business practices.

However, instead of personally apologizing, he used an Uber spokeswoman in a manner that the public is calling unapologetic and contrived.

This raises the question on how Uber’s public relations team should handle the situation. Issuing an apology or statement using a spokesman or woman is nothing new, as many companies would prefer the statement to be calculated, ensuring all bases are covered.

Is Michael expected to be more transparent in his high-position within the company?

In a time where Uber is battling operation permits in numerous cities and fighting off claims of outrageous fees, the company doesn’t exactly have the wiggle room to provide anything less than the most sincere apology.

If Uber wants to stop its reputation’s quick decline, Michael may have to get in front of the camera for an honest interview.

In the mean time, Uber’s public relations team needs to meet with management to come up with a plan to reverse its growing image of an evil, heartless company.

When a person can show his or her disdain for a company as easily as deleting an app, every statement matters.

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