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Uber's Handling Of Horrible Rape Case Is Getting The Outrage It Deserves

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

On Wednesday, it emerged that an Uber exec had obtained the victim’s medical records of a passenger raped by an Uber driver in December 2014. Uber execs believed that Ola, the ride-hailing giant’s rival in India, was behind the incident, in an attempt to frame the company. Ola has since fired back, calling Uber “despicable” and “low on morality.”

Uber’s workplace culture has led to the firing of 20 individuals, among them Eric Alexander, the executive who traveled to India and obtained the victim’s records. As numerous outlets have reported, executives at Uber didn’t believe the victim’s story and, disturbingly, felt it was an attempt by Ola to hurt Uber’s brand in India, where the two are pitted against one another.


After Recode broke the story, Ola slammed the company.

“It is a shame that the privacy and morals of a woman have to be questioned in an attempt to trivialise a horrific crime. It is despicable that anyone can even conceive an attempt to malign competition using this as an opportunity. If this report were to be even remotely true, this is an all time low on morality and a reflection of the very character of an organisation.”


The case dates to late 2014, and the driver was later sentenced to life in prison. But execs—including CEO Travis Kalanick—wondered internally whether the case was orchestrated by Ola. And The Verge is reporting today that Alexander could face criminal charges in India for his involvement here.

The situation emerged just days before a report on Uber’s workplace culture is expected to be released. Should make for an interesting read.

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk

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Wondering, on a very abstract level, if it was a sabotage effort by a competitor is not necessarily out of sorts. The fact of the matter is false accusations of all sorts of crimes happen for all sorts of reasons. There’s a reason every civilized country has some form of due process, even if some aren’t as strong as others, and a crime doesn’t get exempted from that consideration just because it’s of a particularly heinous nature. A rape accusation deserves the same scrutiny as accusation of a simple assault, or a theft.

Literally every other goddamn thing they did in response to that idea however, is horrible. In particular pursuing the victim’s medical records . There is absolutely no scenario where obtaining anyone’s medical records, in particular a potential victim’s, without the proper consent or legal requirement, is acceptable. Quite frankly if they can criminally charge Uber or the exec under their local laws I hope they do.