Uber has reportedly “taken disciplinary actions” against its New York General Manager, Josh Mohrer after Buzzfeed reported that Mohrer had accessed at least one reporter’s rider history.
According to Slate, a spokeswoman for Uber declined to comment on any specifics of the “disciplinary actions.” Slate also says Mohrer “is thought to be in the inner circle of the company’s CEO, Travis Kalanick.”
As we’ve reported previously, Uber has previously resisted any calls to fire any senior executives, particularly those close to Kalanick, even for serious violations of stated company policy. The company’s SVP of business, Emil Michael was not fired, or apparently subject to any other disciplinary action, even after he admitted to boasting of a plan to target the families of journalists, including Pando’s Sarah Lacy. In addition, we understand that no one was fired over Uber’s advertising campaign in Leon which likened female drivers to professional escorts. This leniency is in stark contrast to Uber’s reported policy of promptly terminating drivers who fall below a 4.6 star rating on the company’s app.
This is not the first time Mohrer has been an embarrassment to Uber. Immediately after Buzzfeed broke the news of Uber’s threats against reporters, Pando’s David Holmes reported that Mohrer had posted (and later deleted) a photograph of members of his team dancing to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it off,” with the caption “#HatersGonnaHate.”
More seriously, when Guardian assistant news editor Erin Mccann complained of being aggressively kicked out of an Uber cab, Mohrer went on the attack, claiming that Mccann had deserved the aggression because she had threatened the driver’s livelihood by asking for his badge number.
“Well, the driver is likely just trying to feed his family and you threatened to put his livelihood in jeopardy, so…”
Slate reports that Mohrer was also implicated in the recent scandal where Uber employees were caught booking and then canceling huge numbers of rides from rival services like Lyft.
Anyone confused about Uber’s unwillingness to seriously sanction Mohrer need only look back to the circumstances behind his hiring. Uber’s original General Manager in New York, Matt Kochman, quit the company after coming to believe that Kalanick’s blanket unwillingness to respect the law was “irresponsible.” Reported the Verge:
Kochman left Uber to do consulting for transportation brands and startups, fed up with Uber’s irreverent attitude toward regulators. “Discounting the rules and regulations as a whole, just because you want to launch a product and you have a certain vision for things, that’s just irresponsible,” Kochman said.
Clearly in hiring Mohrer, Travis Kalanick wanted, and found, someone who would suffer no such crises of conscience. Uber might claim to be taking “disciplinary actions” against Mohrer but it’s more likely that, behind the scenes, Kalanick is high fiving his loyal lieutenant.