by Lindsey Ellefson | 5:54 pm, November 2nd, 2016

Pamela Anderson has become quite the activist over the last few years. From shocking PETA ads to op-eds about the dangers of pornography, she’s put her fame to use when it comes to backing causes she cares about. Now, she’s turned her attention to ride-sharing.

Ride-sharing startups like Uber, Gett, and Lyft have been under fire for years. Some cities have banned them while others have halted their operation indefinitely. The unease stems from the belief that anyone can download the app and start driving people around. Some states do mandate that drivers have the appropriate licenses, just like regular cab drivers, but that’s not enough for those who oppose the use of these apps.

The concerns aren’t without merit. Sexual assault and other forms of violence have been associated with ride-share drivers since the services began.

Anderson’s issues with ride-sharing, at least according to the game show-style PSA, seem to be a lack of drug testing and background checks for drivers. She asks “Driver Number 1” if he’s ever been drug tested and he responds, “No. What kind of drugs should I be testing?” The joke is funny, but the idea of riding with an inebriated driver isn’t.

She ends up picking the “screened, licensed, and insured” Driver Number Three to take her home.

As Us Weekly reports, Anderson has gone on the record about her own sexual assaults when she was younger, so her encouragement for fans to “think before [they] app” is obviously something she takes seriously.


Police: Uber driver admitted to sexually battering passenger

Miami-Dade Police said 26-year-old Nimer Abdallah picked up the female victim and one more person to drive them home. Investigators said, at some point, he committed sexual battery on the woman while she was incapacitated.

According to the arrest affidavit, “The victim disclosed that she was intoxicated, and she and the witness took an Uber to her residence. The victim awoke the following morning and found her panties and pants had been removed.”

The form states the victim had been sexually battered.

Abdallah was taken into custody, Tuesday, just after midnight. At the Miami-Dade Police Special Victims Bureau in Doral, detectives said, “The defendant further admitted the victim had been drinking and stated he was wrong for what he did.”

An Uber representative from company headquarters in San Francisco confirmed they are aware of the incident. Consequently, Abdallah has been banned from driving or using Uber and its app for being in violation of company guidelines.

Abdallah’s Facebook page says he studies at Florida International University, and his roommate told 7News he is an engineering student and a teacher’s assistant.

An FIU spokesperson said, though there is a student of the same name, federal law prohibits them from disclosing any personal information.

Abdallah was taken to the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. He has since bonded out.

Wednesday afternoon, Abdallah slammed the door to his Southwest Miami-Dade apartment on a 7News crew and declined to comment on the case.

“We just want to give you an opportunity to talk,” said 7News reporter Sheldon Fox. “You’re being accused of a serious crime.”

Abdallah threatened to call police during his 33-second exchange with 7News. “You don’t have to call the police. We’re leaving,” Fox said.



Woman says Uber driver Molested her


Published 06/07 2016 03:53PM

NORTH SALT LAKE (ABC4 Utah) North Salt Lake Police are investigating a report of an attempted rape by an Uber driver. 

A 42 year old woman told ABC 4 she called for the Uber driver after visiting with friends in Salt Lake City. She doesn't want to be identified so we will call her Julia for this report.

She says the assault began right after she got in the front seat and the car took off. "He immediately started touching my leg with his hand, grabbed my hand, tried to hold my hand." Julia continues "he was saying things like oh your skin is so soft."

As he drove north on I-15 heading to her North Salt Lake home, he became more aggressive according to Julia. "He tried to slide his fingers up my shorts and then tried to rub me down over the top of my shorts."

She says the attempted rape occurred when he pulled up to her house. "He put it in park and immediately takes off his pants and he grabs on my shorts and tries to pull my shorts down."

She pulled away, said no, and started heading for her house. Julia quotes the driver then as saying "come on, you know you want to do this, you want this, you want this."

She ran in the house and called police. North Salt Lake Police tracked down the driver who denied her entire story. That leaves them with a "he said, she said" kind of situation because there's no physical evidence like semen or ripped clothes and there are no eyewitnesses. They say they are treating the report seriously and doing what they call due diligence. When that is complete they will turn their report over to the Davis County Attorney who will decide on possible charges.

Julia told ABC 4 that the driver was dumped by Uber but is still working for Lyft and she worries that he's doing this to other women who may be too embarrassed to come forward.

It's his attitude that make her think she is not his first victim. "It was so easy for him, so natural. He was just so confident and saying you know you want this. And when I got out of the car he was shocked. You know just sitting there with his pants on the ground."

Julia says the man told her he was from Iran. She guesses he's in his mid 30's. The police report identifies the driver as Alireza. If anyone else knows something about the case, call the North Salt Lake Police Department.

Julia warns other women not to sit in the front seat like she did and she thinks it would be much safer to travel in groups when taking transportation like this.


Uber accused of missing driver's criminal record in alleged sexual assault

A lawsuit charging the ride-hailing company with negligence says a background check didn't go back far enough to find an assault conviction.

Tech Industry

January 21, 2016  6:07 PM PST

  • by Steven Musil

Uber background checks failed to detect the criminal record of a driver accused in the sexual assault of a female passenger last year, according to a lawsuit that charges the ride-hailing company with neglecting the safety of its female customers.

The lawsuit, which was originally filed in October by two unidentified plaintiffs, accuses Uber of conducting inadequate background checks on its drivers. Amendments to the suit filed Wednesday added that a driver accused of assaulting a female passenger in South Carolina last August had previously been arrested on suspicion of domestic abuse and was convicted of assault in connection with the arrest.

The lawsuit notes that the driver's conviction occurred in 2003 but that he did not apply to drive for Uber until 2015, some 12 years after his conviction. Uber's background check failed to catch the conviction because it only searches back seven years, according to the complaint.

Uber, which makes a smartphone app that connects people who want a ride with de facto cab drivers, has come under fire for dozens of sexual assaults allegedly carried out by its drivers worldwide. A handful of states, including California and Texas, havelaunched investigations into Uber, claiming it routinely fails to adequately screen drivers and has hired drivers with criminal histories.

"Uber continues to play fast and loose with laws and regulations that are set in place to ensure safety," Jeanne M. Christiansen, attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement. "It's precisely this corporate strategy that has directly resulted in our clients and many other women being put squarely in danger from individuals whose backgrounds we know were not fully vetted."

Uber responded by saying it was focused on the safety of its passengers.

"Safety is very important to us, and this driver was immediately and permanently barred from the platform," an Uber spokesman told CNET. "We continue to work with all parties as the process unfolds."

Uber has previously said it puts all potential US drivers through commercial background checks, running candidates' names through seven years of county and federal courthouse records, a multi-state criminal database, national sex offender registry, Social Security trace and motor vehicle records. Uber said it rejects anyone with a history of violent crimes, sexual offenses, gun-related violations or resisting arrest.

The lawsuit amended Wednesday involves two alleged cases of sexual assault in two different cities by two different drivers.

Jane Doe 1's alleged assault took place in Boston at around 2:30 a.m. local time on February 8, 2015, after she and her friends had been at a party, the complaint says. The Uber driver dropped off Jane Doe 1's friends first, drove her along an off-route detour and then groped her and forcibly kissed her, according to the complaint, which adds that she managed to unlock the car door and escape.

The complaint says Jane Doe 2 was at a bar with friends in Charleston, South Carolina, on August 9, 2015, when the group was picked up by an Uber driver. After dropping off her friends, the driver drove Doe 2 to a remote parking lot and raped her, according to the complaint. Doe 2 then escaped and got help, the document says.

In addition to seeking unspecified damages, the suit is requesting a jury trial and a permanent injunction against Uber to overhaul its safety measures. Plaintiffs are also asking the court to order Uber to boost its safety standards by adding several new measures. These new measures include 24-hour customer support hotlines in all cities in which it operates, requiring all drivers to install GPS tracking systems on their cars that would set off an alarm if deactivated, disabling child-lock features on passenger doors and conducting fingerprint-based background checks and in-person interviews with drivers.

CNET's Dara Kerr contributed to this report.