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In November 2014, Emil Michael, senior vice-president at car ride-hire app company Uber, made comments suggesting that Uber could conduct smear campaigns against critics and journalists:
Ben Smith reported in Buzzfeed:
- Over dinner, [Michael] outlined the notion of spending “a million dollars” to hire four top opposition researchers and four journalists. That team could, he said, help Uber fight back against the press — they’d look into “your personal lives, your families,” and give the media a taste of its own medicine.
- Michael was particularly focused on one journalist, Sarah Lacy, the editor of the Silicon Valley website PandoDaily, a sometimes combative voice inside the industry. Lacy recently accused Uber of “sexism and misogyny.”
Uber's CEO Travis Kalanick issued a series of tweets beginning "Emil’s comments at the recent dinner party were terrible and do not represent the company." As of mid-November 2014, there was no reported disciplinary action against Michael (eg, firing, suspension, investigation).
- A discussion between Sarah Lacy and another PandoDaily staffer (audio)
- Uber’s CEO appeared to tweet an apology, but it was actually an internal memo contains the text of Kalanick's tweets.