In case there was still any doubt, Uber's top executives are really terrible.
A report in The Information out Friday night alleges that CEO Travis Kalanick and Senior Vice President of Business Emil Michael took Uber staffers to—wait for it—an escort-karaoke bar in Seoul, where male Uber managers picked women working at the bar out of a lineup.
Again: Where Uber managers picked women working at the bar out of a lineup.
Women. Working. At. The. Escort-karaoke bar. Out. Of. A. Lineup.
Oh yes. This is real. A female Uber manager who was part of the business trip months later reported the incident to Uber's human resources department. But it wouldn't be a story about Uber unless there were another Uber-sized screwup within it. And oh yeah, there's definitely one of those, too, because Michael tried to get Kalanick's then-girlfriend, violinist Gabi Holzwarth, to lie about it. One more time:
Tried. To. Get. Her. To. Lie. About. It.
The incident resurfaced as part of former Attorney General Eric Holder's investigation into corporate culture and practices at Uber. The investigation was called for after women began coming forward in February to share their experiences of sexual harassment while working for the international ride-hailing giant.
As a reminder, some of the allegations since all of this started: Uber protected high-ranking male managers accused of sexual harassment, created a culture that caused women engineers to leave the company and suffer "psychological trauma," and discriminated against women engineers by buying leather jackets for all the men on a team, and not the women, because there weren't enough of them.
Oh, and also, a top executive resigned after reports that he'd previously left Google amid charges of sexual harassment there, and just yesterday it was reported that an Uber recruiter blamed Uber's problems on systemic sexism in the tech industry at large. Oh! And then there was that time Uber's president resigned after just a few months on the job. That was last week.
The aforementioned Seoul incident happened in 2014. And Emil Michael allegedly asked Holzwarth before the news came out Friday to say the bar was just a regular karaoke bar, no escorts involved—not a scene where "four male Uber managers picked women out of the group, calling out their numbers."
You might remember Michael from when he threatened to stalk female journalists who covered Uber via their Uber accounts in 2014. He apologized, as has Kalanick since this all began almost two months ago.
But Kalanick was spotted at a ping-pong party with the theme "Babes and Balls" just over two weeks ago. So, uh, progress? (No.)
Uber said in a statement:
"This all happened about three years ago and was previously reported to human resources. In early March it was referred to Eric Holder and Tammy Albarran as part of their review."
Kalanick's troubles aren't limited to his company's treatment of women. He also got slammed for perceived ties to President Donald Trump and a video that showed him berating an Uber driver as they argued over Uber pricing. At least 500,000 people deleted their Uber accounts the first week a #DeleteUber campaign took off in late January.
Safe to say, this probably won't make anyone who didn't like Uber before a fan of the app anytime soon. But as Holder finishes his investigation, the big question becomes: Is this as bad as it gets, or do the worst of Uber's skeletons have yet to show themselves out of the closet?