A vast investigation accuses Uber of brutal or even illegal methods in its infancy

An extensive investigation accuses Uber of brutal and even illegal methods to its beginnings


The Uber platform said on Sunday it would not apologize for its “past”, in response to an international investigation by journalists showing the company used brutal practices and “breaks the law” to impose itself despite the reluctance of politicians and taxis. 

“We have not and will not make excuses for past behaviors that are clearly not aligned with our current values,” Jill Hazelbaker, Uber's vice president of public affairs, said in a statement. online.

The Guardian, a British daily, obtained and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) some 124,000 documents, dated from 2013 to 2017, including emails and messages from Uber executives at the time, as well as only presentations, notes and invoices.

On Sunday, several daily newspapers (the Washington Post in the United States, Le Monde in France, and others) published their first articles taken from these “Uber Files” .

They highlight some of the methods employed during these years of rapid expansion, but also of confrontation for Uber, from Paris to Johannesburg.

“The company has broken the law, deceived police and regulators, exploited violence against drivers and secretly lobbied governments around the world,” says the Guardian in its introduction.

The articles notably mention messages from Travis Kalanick, then boss of the San Francisco-based company, when executives expressed concern about the risks to drivers whom Uber was encouraging to take part in a protest in Paris.

“ I think it's worth it,” replied the co-founder. “Violence guarantees success”.

“Mr. Kalanick has never suggested that Uber exploits violence at the expense of driver safety,” reacted Devon Spurgeon, spokesperson for the controversial former leader, in a press release published by the ICIJ, where he refutes all the accusations.

Accused of having encouraged questionable and brutal managerial practices, against a backdrop of sexism and harassment at work, Mr. Kalanick had to give up his role as general manager of the group in June 2017.

Announcing his resignation from the board of directors at the end of 2019, he said he was “proud of everything Uber has accomplished”.

In its press release on Sunday, Uber recalls that the media has already covered the company's pre-2017 mistakes extensively, from press to books and even a television series.

“Uber is now one of the most important work platforms in the world and is part of the daily life of more than 100 million people. We have moved from an era of confrontation to an era of collaboration,” elaborates Jill Hazelbaker.