TIME Companies

Uber CEO Offers Epic, Rambling Twitter Apology

Kalanick does not suggest controversial VP has been suspended or fired

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick on Tuesday afternoon offered up his first public comments since reports surfaced that company senior vice president Emil Michael floated the idea of hiring opposition researchers to dig up dirt on journalists that are critical of the company.

Here is what Kalanick had to say:

Kalanick does not suggest that Emil Michael has been suspended or fired, nor did he address simultaneous reports that Uber employees have accessed certain user data in violation of Uber’s terms of service.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Companies

7 Dead-Serious Uber Controversies That Somehow Didn’t Sink the Company

Uber Taxi App In Madrid
Pablo Blazquez Dominguez—Getty Images

From high-speed chases to abductions to driver poaching, Uber is well-acquainted with the snafu

Uber is no stranger to confrontation. The ride-sharing firm is known for aggressive tactics that have helped fuel its explosive growth. Its very business model is based on disrupting old-school taxi services in cities across the globe.

Remarks made by Uber’s senior vice president for business, Emil Michael, have put the spotlight on the company once more. A Buzzfeed editor overheard Michael outlining “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 excused himself later, saying that he regretted his idea to investigate and embarrass critical journalists, and that his remarks “do not reflect my actual views.”

Here are seven other controversies that the company has been embroiled in over the years. None of them has seemed to really hurt it permanently. Uber will hit an annual revenue rate of $10 billion by the end of 2015, Business Insider reports.

Sabotaging Lyft by booking rides and then canceling them

Uber employees allegedly posed as customers ordered and then canceled rides from Lyft, decreasing Lyft drivers’ availability, wasting time and gas, and possibly sending real customers to Uber instead. Lyft told CNNMoney in August that 177 Uber employees—contractors armed with a burner phone and a credit card—ordered and canceled more than 5,000 rides.

Uber officially denies that it’s playing dirty, but an Uber contractor told The Verge that the company encourages that kind of maneuver.

Poaching Lyft drivers

Uber employees are known to hail Lyft rides, converse with Lyft drivers, and try to recruit them to Uber before they get to their destination. The system has become complex: there’s an official conversation guide for Uber recruiters, and a messaging app that tells Uber recruiters which Lyft drivers had already been pitched. One source told the Verge that recruiters can earn a $750 commission for successfully recruiting a single new driver to Uber.

(Lyft has also sought to recruit Uber drivers, by offering cash bonuses for joining.)

Disrupting established taxi services

Traditional city taxi services aren’t happy with the competitive challenge Uber poses. Sentimentalists mourn the hardships faced by old-line companies like the classic New York City yellow cabs, and many argue that Uber should be subject to the same regulations as traditional taxi services. Uber has faced a slew of legal challenges, lobbying and public mud throwing in dozens of cities it has moved in to.

One Uber driver allegedly abducted a woman

An Uber driver was arrested in June by Los Angeles police on suspicion of kidnapping a drunk woman and taking her to a hotel, intending to sexual assault her. The LA Times reports that a valet employee at a night club asked an Uber to drive a young woman home, but he instead allegedly drove her to a hotel and slept beside her.

..a second driver apparently abducted another woman

Another LA woman was reportedly abducted by an Uber driver last month who took her almost 20 miles out of the way, ignoring her questions and directions, and drove her into a dark empty parking lot in the middle of the night. The driver locked the doors, trapped her inside and only took her home when she screamed and caused a commotion, Valleywag reports. A quick ride turned into a two-hour plus nightmare.

…a third is said to have abducted a New York-based CEO

The CEO of a New York-based company said he was taken on a wild ride by an Uber driver in July who appeared to be escaping D.C. taxi inspectors.

The Uber driver started down the street, ran a red light and veered away from the D.C. inspector, according to CEO Ryan Simonetti’s story in The Washington Post. Simonetti says he was driven down the highway well above the speed limit as the Uber driver veered, narrowly missing hitting other cars in order to escape the D.C. authorities. “It was insane,” Simonetti said. “I physically tried to force his leg to hit the brake. I ripped off his pant leg…. I said, ‘Here’s two options. You take this exit, or I’m going to knock the side of your head in. If we crash, we crash, but you’re gonna kill us anyway.’” Simonetti managed to escape the car, and the Uber driver screeched away the wrong way up an exit ramp.

…and a fourth was arrested for supposedly hitting a passenger on the head with a hammer.

In September, an Uber passenger in San Francisco questioned a driver on the route he was taking when things turned ugly, NBC reported. Driver Patrick Karajah pulled the vehicle over and took a hammer, beating the passenger over the head and causing facial fracture and trauma to the head. Karajah is being charged with deadly weapon assault and battery with serious bodily injury; the passenger, Roberto Chicas, faces reconstructive surgery and hasn’t been able to work since the assault.

One of the major complaints against the company is that it doesn’t vet its drivers the way that an established taxi company does. (That applies to Lyft, too.) Uber does do a driver background check, but established taxi drivers are often better regulated.

TIME

See How Much Every Top Artist Makes on Spotify

Taylor Swift had October's top-earning single before pulling her music from the streaming service

Taylor Swift’s recent decision to yank her music off of Spotify, the online music streaming service used by more than 50 million people, has become the latest episode in the battle over the music industry’s diminishing profits.

One central mystery in the drama: just how much do artists make when their songs are played on the service? We used Spotify’s stated payout range – $0.006 to $0.0084 per stream – to calculate how much the top 50 songs streamed globally earned artists in 2014. See the bar charts below for each song. The payout range represents the top and bottom figures for each song as described by Spotify’s latest publicly available formula.

Spotify provided its “per stream” range in 2013 in an attempt to satisfy curiosity about the company’s royalties formula, which factors in total revenue made by Spotify and total streams across the site, both unavailable to the public. Regardless of the exact per stream payout each month, Swift’s chart-topping single “Shake It Off” earned more than any other song in October. But having spent only 7 weeks on Spotify, Swift’s single can’t compete with the top 20 best-paying songs from the first 10 months of 2014, like Calvin Harris’s “Summer,” which could have netted the Scottish singer $1.7 million.

Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek has said that since the company was founded in 2008 it has paid out $2 billion to record labels and publishers, half of that total in the last year alone. In a recent blog post, he said that an artist of Swift’s size could earn $6 million by streaming her music on Spotify in the past year.

When contacted by TIME last week, a Spotify spokesperson said Swift had earned $2 million off global streaming of her music in the past year. Swift’s record label, Nashville-based Big Machine, said last week that it had received exactly $496,044 for domestic streaming of Swift’s music over the past 12 months.

While few are going to fear that Swift is about to go begging, the fact that the country’s best-selling artist believes Spotify devalues her work could have a major influence on whether other artists stick with the service.

I’m always up for trying something,” Swift told TIME about joining Spotify. “And I tried it and I didn’t like the way it felt. I think there should be an inherent value placed on art. I didn’t see that happening, perception-wise, when I put my music on Spotify. Everybody’s complaining about how music sales are shrinking, but nobody’s changing the way they’re doing things.”

Read Taylor Swift’s interview with TIME.

Read more about Taylor Swift’s Spotify paycheck mystery.

Read next: Sony Rethinks Spotify Collaboration, Taking a Cue from Taylor Swift

TIME The Brief

#TheBrief: How Ebola and Fungus May Speed Up the Chocolate Shortage

China's growing demand for chocolate may also be contributing

A recent chocolate shortage has seen cocoa farmers unable to keep up with the public’s insatiable appetite for the treat–and the world’s largest chocolate producers, drought, Ebola and a fungal disease may all be to blame.

Meanwhile, China’s demand for chocolatey goodness has more than doubled in the past ten years, and the country is the fastest growing sector for confectionery products in the world.

Watch #TheBrief to find out what’s being done to save chocolate and what the consequences of this shortage might be for you.

MONEY groceries

Rumors Are Flying of a Thanksgiving Turkey Shortage

Turkeys in a grocery store
Richard Levine—Alamy

You may have heard that there's a turkey shortage, and that prices are rising just in time for Thanksgiving. Hogwash.

Supermarkets have plenty of turkeys, and prices are incredibly cheap right now. How cheap? How about 79¢ per pound? That’s what the Kroger chain of supermarkets is offering in a special deal valid through Thanksgiving, so long as the customer buys an additional $35 or more in groceries.

If that’s too pricey, check out the offer from Meijer: When a customer spends at least $20 in the store, the chain’s own brand of turkeys are 50% off, which translates to 54¢ per pound for frozen birds and 98¢ per pound for fresh ones. In competitive markets such as western Michigan, meanwhile, some local grocery stores are selling turkeys for as little as 49¢ a pound. The latest Stop & Shop circular is advertising frozen turkeys for 59¢ per pound with a $25 purchase, and the chain says it will match the turkey prices of any grocery competitor. Yet another large player in the grocery field, Hy-Vee, has a coupon valid for a free 10- to 14-lb. Honeysuckle White Turkey for customers who purchase a Hormel whole ham. And ShopRite is giving reward club members a free turkey once the customer meets certain spending requirements (usually $400) over a period of a few weeks.

So why are so many headlines are making the rounds lately indicating that turkey is getting expensive?

It’s true that production is down, and that wholesale prices are up for turkey. But the important takeaway for shoppers is that neither of these factors is necessarily translating to rising prices in stores.

Due to long periods of drought and rising prices for feed, production of all manner of livestock has been on the decline in recent years. Beef prices, for instance, have increased to the point that consumers needed smart strategies to keep barbecue costs down over the summer. The Associated Press recently reported that American farmers will produce a total of 235 million turkeys this year, “the lowest since 1986, when U.S. farmers produced roughly 207 million birds.”

It sounds pretty dire. And yet, there’s nothing remotely true about the idea of there being a turkey “shortage,” as some have called it. A shortage means there’s not enough to go around—that the supply can’t keep up with demand. But as no less an authority than the National Turkey Federation noted that Americans collectively consumed 46 million turkeys at Thanksgiving 2012, and 210 million turkeys during the year as a whole. That, combined with the fact that there are ample supplies of turkeys at supermarkets all over the country, should dispel any claims of a “shortage.”

As far as prices go, wholesale prices may be rising—reportedly up 12% in October compared with last year—but, as USDA agriculture economist David Harvey explained to the AP, “There’s really no correlation between what grocery store chains are paying and what they’re selling them at.”

This year—and every year around this time—supermarkets use turkeys as “loss leaders.” The stores advertise exceptionally low prices on turkeys, knowing that doing so will be a draw for customers. The grocers don’t care if they make little or no money, or even if they lose money, on turkey sales; shoppers who come for turkeys almost always buy plenty more groceries when they’re in the stores, especially when they’re required to do so, as the best deals stipulate, and it’s in these purchases where the supermarkets make their money.

What’s more, the idea that there is a turkey shortage and/or that turkey prices are soaring is a myth that pops up regularly around this time of year. Last year’s “shortage” turned out to be hype because, once anyone read past the headlines, it was clear that even as the supply of one particular kind of turkey had declined, the vast majority of turkeys (and consumers) were completely unaffected.

In a story published today by the New Jersey Star Ledger, Ashley Myers, co-owner of Ashley Farms, is quoted laughing off the idea of there being a shortage of turkeys. “They say that every year,” she said.

And every year, everyone who wants to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving is able to buy a turkey very easily, generally at very low prices—or even free. This year is no exception.

TIME Autos

Ford Recalls 65,000 Fusion Vehicles

There are no known accidents caused by the issue

Ford has recalled 65,000 Fusion cars for noncompliance with a regulation on “theft protection and rollaway prevention.

The automaker announced Tuesday said that it is not aware of any accidents or injuries caused by the issue, but said that it would voluntarily fix the more than 56,000 affected vehicles in the United States, as well as 6,000 in Canada and 2,300 in Mexico.

The 65,000 vehicles recalled Tuesday is small in comparison to General Motors’ notorious recall this year, when more than 1 million vehicles worldwide were pulled over a faulty ignition switch that caused the deaths of at least 30 people.

TIME Companies

Sony Rethinks Spotify Collaboration, Taking a Cue from Taylor Swift

Celebrity Sightings In New York City - November 14, 2014
Taylor Swift seen on the streets of Manhattan on November 14, 2014 in New York City. James Devaney—GC Images

The 24-year-old pop singer reshapes the conversation in Sony's executive suite

Taylor Swift’s eye-catching decision to yank her music from Spotify has prompted Sony Corporation to reconsider its collaboration with the free streaming music service, top executives said Tuesday.

Sony Music’s chief financial officer, Kevin Kelleher, told the Wall Street Journal that the 24-year-old pop singer’s decision has opened a new conversation in the executive suite. “Actually, a lot of conversation has taken place over the last week in the light of that,” Kelleher said. While Kelleher declared himself “very encouraged” by Spotify’s growth of paid subscribers, he said Sony executives had lingering concerns about Spotify’s free streaming service, which is supported by ad-based revenues.

“What it all really comes down to is how much value are the music company and the artist getting from the different consumption methods,” Kelleher said.

Swift has emerged as a vocal detractor of Spotify’s revenue sharing model, criticizing it as a raw deal for performing artists in a Wall Street Journal op-ed earlier this year.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

TIME technology

How Amazon Could Save the Post Office’s Holidays

Michael McDonald
Packages wait to be sorted as a postal worker gathers mail to load into his truck before making a delivery run. The U.S. Postal Service recently announced that it will deliver packages seven days a week through Christmas Day. David Goldman—AP

The U.S. Postal Service begins 7-day holiday delivery this week

This week, the U.S. Postal Service is launching 7-day holiday delivery service for the first time, allowing procrastinating gift-givers extra time to get their packages in the mail. But the extra day each week isn’t merely meant as a convenience during a stressful time of year—it’s an indication of where the post office is heading.

Last year, as the USPS’s total mail volume continued its decade-long decline (from 158 billion pieces to 155 billion), shipping and package volume actually increased by 300 million, an jump of 8.1% from the year before. Revenue from packages increased 9.1%, and that growth helped the post office increase its operating revenue by almost $600 million.

Package delivery is the one sector that appears to show the promise of significant growth for the U.S. Postal Service, which has lost money every year since 2007 and recently announced another loss of $5.5 billion this year. The struggling institution has tried a number of ways to get back in the black: reducing its workforce, closing distribution plants, cutting Saturday delivery, even urging Congress to allow it to deliver beer and wine. Some of those moves have cut costs (reducing employees and plants). Others have been blocked by Congress (eliminating Saturday delivery and shipping alcohol). But the only move that is driving significant revenue growth is packages.

“We lost the bill payment world, which was very profitable for us,” says Patrick Donahoe, the outgoing postmaster general. “But the nice thing is, with e-commerce and the Internet, we’ve had the opportunity to deliver packages for companies like Amazon.”

The postal service has increasingly looked to the Internet, the rise of which has been at the heart of the post office’s declines, as its possible savior, partnering with sites like Stamps.com, for instance, which allows people to print postage from home without trekking to the post office. More significantly, the USPS inked a deal with Amazon allowing it to deliver the online retail giant’s packages on Sundays at regular rates, beginning in New York and Los Angeles before moving out to other metropolitan areas around the U.S.

The agreement with Amazon is reflection of an ever-more-convenient and competitive delivery industry that includes companies like the direct-to-time grocery shipper FreshDirect, alongside eBay, Walmart and Google, all three of which are experimenting with same-day delivery, as is Amazon. But it’s also a sign of the USPS’s increasing commercialization and its continued reliance on partnerships with other companies. While the USPS has long helped FedEx and UPS get its packages to their final destination in what’s called “last mile” delivery, the post office has recently expanded its services into big-box retailers like Staples and Costco, as well as establishing “village post offices” inside convenience stores. And that’s likely just the beginning.

“The obvious area to grow, because people are doing more Internet shopping, is the parcel post,” says Rick Geddes, a Cornell University public policy professor who studies the post office. Still, Geddes says packages alone can’t fix the post office’s problems. “The notion that delivering parcels will somehow be a magic bullet is false,” he says. “[The USPS] needs to become more like a regular commercial entity.”

So far, package delivery is nowhere close to making up for revenue losses from first-class mail, because the volume isn’t as high and it’s not as profitable. Geddes argues that the postal service has to reform in a similar way as post offices in the European Union, New Zealand and Australia, which have all eliminated their monopoly on first-class mail, allowing them to enter new commercial markets while setting their own rates without government approval. Australia’s post office, for example, runs actual retail stores that sell greeting cards, gifts and stationary alongside a postal services section.

But for now, the post office is hoping that 7-day holiday delivery, which will last through Christmas Day, will not only be a convenience for customers, but will give the faltering institution a financial boost. USPS is predicting parcel growth to increase by 12% from last year’s holiday season—equaling 450 million to 470 million packages.

TIME Social Media

5 Trends That Will Change How You Use Social Media in 2015

Facebook
Dado Ruvic—Reuters

Big changes are afoot for the likes of Twitter, Facebook and others

This year started with a death sentence for Facebook. In January, a research company called Global Web Index published a study showing that Facebook had lost nearly one-third of its U.S. teen users in the last year. Headlines pronounced the network “dead and buried.”

Fast forward to the present and Facebook is reporting record growth. The company earned $2.96 billion in ad revenue in the third quarter of 2013, up 64 percent from just a year ago. More impressively, the network has added more than 100 million monthly active users in the last year.

All of which goes to show how difficult it can be to predict the future of social media. With that caveat in mind, here’s a look into the crystal ball at five ways social media will (likely) evolve in 2015.

Your social network wants to be your wallet

Hacks released in October show a hidden payment feature deep inside Facebook’s popular Messenger app. If activated by the company, it will allow the app’s 200 million users to send money to each other using just debit card information, free of charge. Meanwhile, the network has also already rolled out a new Autofill feature (a kind of Facebook Connect for credit cards), which allows users who save their credit card info on Facebook to check out with 450,000 e-commerce merchants across the web.

So why does Facebook want to handle your money in 2015? Right now, some of tech’s biggest players are battling it out in the mobile payments space, including Apple with its new Apple Pay app, upstarts like Square and Stripe and even online payments veterans like PayPal. The endgame at this stage isn’t exactly clear. Facebook may eventually charge for its money transfer services, leverage customer purchasing data to pull in more advertisers or even try to rival traditional credit cards like Visa and Mastercard (which make billions on fees). One thing’s for sure: You can expect to see major social networks jockeying more aggressively to handle your transactions in 2015.

New networks proliferate, but will they last?

2014 saw the rise of a number of niche social networks, many built specifically in response to the perceived failings of the big boys: the lack of privacy, the collection of demographic and psychographic data, the increasingly pervasive advertising. Newcomers range from Ello, which launched in March with promises to never sell user data, to Yik Yak, which allows users to exchange fully anonymous posts with people who are physically nearby, and tsu, which has promised to share ad revenue with users based on the popularity of their posts.

Will these networks grow and stick around? New social platforms that try to replicate the Facebook experience while promising, for instance, fewer ads or more privacy, have the odds seriously stacked against them. The biggest challenge – one that even Google+ has struggled with – is attracting a sufficient userbase so the network doesn’t feel like a ghost town compared to Facebook’s thriving 1.3-billion-user global community.

On the other hand, new networks that map onto strong existing communities or interests (interest-based networks, as opposed to Facebook-style people-based networks) have a much better chance. In fact, thousands of these networks are already thriving below the radar, from dedicated sites for cooks and chefs like Foodie to sites for fitness junkies like Fitocracy.

Shopping finally comes to social media

Earlier this year, both Twitter and Facebook began beta-testing “buy” buttons, which appear alongside certain tweets and posts and allows users to make purchases with just a click or two, without ever leaving the network. Expect e-commerce and social media integrations to deepen in 2015. In fact, it’s a little surprising it’s taken so long.

For starters, this approach eliminates one key dilemma all merchants face – how to get customers in the door (or to your website). On Facebook and Twitter, you’ve already got a receptive audience, happily chatting with friends, browsing the latest trends, sharing photos and videos, etc. Once their payment details are on file, purchases are a tap or two away. Then it’s back to cat GIFs and updates on weekend plans.

In addition, since Facebook and especially Twitter are real-time media, they’re perfect for short-term deals tied in with fleeting trends. With time-sensitive offers literally streaming by, consumers may well be inclined to act quickly and seal the deal, forgoing the obsessive comparison shopping that characterizes lots of Internet transactions.

Finally, there are major benefits to advertisers. Connecting individual Tweets and Facebook posts with actual purchases has thus far proved a huge analytical challenge. But with the advent of buy buttons, concrete revenue figures can be attached to specific social media messages in a way that hasn’t been possible until now.

Smart devices get more social

Cheap sensors have led to an explosion of smart devices. Everything from home appliances like thermostats, bathroom scales and refrigerators to wearables like fitness bracelets and smart watches are now collecting data and zapping it off wirelessly to the Internet. Lots of these devices are also pushing notifications to Facebook, Twitter and other networks, a trend that will continue in 2015. The question is: Is that a good thing? The prospect of growing legions of washing machines, smoke alarms and Nike FuelBands spitting out Facebook posts isn’t exactly something to get excited about.

The challenge in 2015 becomes how to more intelligently integrate the fast-growing Internet of Things with social media. In short, smart devices need to improve their social intelligence. This might start with tapping users’ social graph – their unique network of friends and followers – in better ways. A very simple example: a smart fridge that tracks your Facebook Events, sees you’re planning a party and how many people have RSVP’d and alerts you to make a beer run. By listening to social media in more sophisticated ways – tracking users’ activities and interactions with friends and followers, then responding accordingly – smart devices stand to get even smarter in the year ahead.

The illusion of social media privacy gives way to the real thing

2014 saw a number of anonymous and ephemeral social networks – Snapchat, Secret, Whisper, Yik Yak and Telegram, to name a few – surge in popularity. Not everyone wants every conversation over social media broadcast to the world, after all. At the same time, savvy users are increasingly aware – and concerned – about ways personal data is being collected and later sold to advertisers, manipulated in tests or accessed by government agencies.

The problem is that few of these “private” networks fulfill their mandates. Snapchat has been hacked, repeatedly, with hundreds of thousands of sensitive – supposedly disappearing – user photos posted on the Internet. And in October, it was revealed that the anonymous network Whisper was actually saving users’ posts and locations and compiling this information in a searchable database. As Venture Beat points out, real anonymity and privacy on the Internet is extremely difficult to achieve. While it’s easy to make promises, it’s nearly impossible to deliver.

But demand for anonymous social media will only get bigger in 2015. In fact, there are signs that even the major players are beginning to acknowledge the issue. In October, Facebook rolled out its new chat app Rooms, which allows users to create chat rooms around shared interests, with no requirement to reveal name or location. Meanwhile in November, Facebook became the first Silicon Valley tech giant to provide official support for Tor, the powerful, open-source anonymizing service – popular among journalists, political dissidents and law enforcement – that allows users to conceal their identity, location and browsing history.

Ryan Holmes is CEO of Hootsuite. Follow him @invoker

Read next: 9 Super Simple Ways to Make Facebook Less Annoying

TIME technology

Uber Rides into New PR Storm Over Digging Dirt on Hostile Press

Senior VP told celebrity guests the company should hire investigators to expose details of critics’ private lives

Ride-sharing app firm Uber has just ridden into another major PR storm after one of its senior executives suggesting the company should dig dirt on hostile journalists.

The comments, made by Emil Michael, the company’s senior vice-president for business, give further ammunition to critics who accuse the company of being arrogant and unethical.

Michael made the remarks at a dinner Friday at Manhattan’s Waverly Inn attended by luminaries such as actor Ed Norton and publisher Arianna Huffington. While he obviously thought he was talking off the record, a Buzzfeed editor who was invited to the dinner by journalist Michael Wolff says that that wasn’t communicated to him. And he promptly spilled the beans.

According to Buzzfeed, 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.”

Buzzfeed has been aggressive in covering what it sees as Uber’s cultural shortcomings, recently highlighting an apparent initiative by Uber in Lyon, France, to partner with an escort agency.

That episode had prompted the PandoDaily blogger Sarah Lucy to accuse the company of “sexism and misogyny” and announce publicly that she would boycott the service. Buzzfeed reported that Lucy was top among the targets of Michael’s anger, saying that she “should be held ‘personally responsible’ for any woman who followed her lead in deleting Uber and was then sexually assaulted” by a driver from a different taxi service.

The company didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment by Fortune, but the BF article carried the following statement from Michael:

“The remarks attributed to me at a private dinner — borne out of frustration during an informal debate over what I feel is sensationalistic media coverage of the company I am proud to work for — do not reflect my actual views and have no relation to the company’s views or approach. They were wrong no matter the circumstance and I regret them.”

Buzzfeed also quoted Uber spokeswoman Nairi Hourdajian as saying that “the company does not do “oppo research” of any sort on journalists, and has never considered doing it.”

She also distanced herself from Michael’s comments about Lacy specifically.

The partnering initiative with the escort agency in Lyon, meanwhile, has quietly died a death.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

 

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