The New Dilemma For Uber Employees

Uber’s PR strategy to reconstitute its image is to blow off employees’ concerns and throw departing employees under the bus.

Concrete example. Below are verbatim excerpts from a secret recording of a painful meeting between 100 women Uber engineers and CEO Travis Kalanick.  The quotes are from a single unidentified (very gutsy) engineer:

Everyone who’s in these rooms now—I think, please correct me if I’m wrong—believes that there is a systemic problem here and we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t.

Can we stop saying if there’s a systemic problem? I think it’s really important that we get there.

I think that over the past several years—if we were listening to our own people—we would already wholeheartedly believe that the systemic problem is here.”

Here’s how Uber board member Ariana Huffington recently framed Uber’s response to its sexist-culture crisis: “Yes, there were some bad apples, unquestionably. But this is not a systemic problem.”

It should be noted Huffington’s frame comes before the completion of Eric Holder’s report on the company’s culture.


Uber, via Huffington, is clearly blaming the executives who’ve recently departed Uber—some of whom were fired pursuant to purging harassers, and some of whom supposedly left for different reasons.

The new dilemma for Uber employees becomes:

  • Stay and suffer the toxic environment despite strong signs the culture change will be a whitewash;
  • By staying, potentially be perceived as someone who thrives in or condones this type of poisonous environment the next time you apply for a job;
  • Or, be a triple winner and be blamed for causing Uber’s toxic culture after you leave.


“You know what?

Some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own shit. They blame everything in their life on somebody else.”

And some get others to do it for them.

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