Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has told the ride-hailing firm’s employees that he is stepping down from Donald Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum. The move is a response to mounting criticism over what some people perceived as his support of the President.
With so many tech companies unified against Donald Trump’s immigration ban, Kalanick had come under fire for his position as a government advisor. The New York Times reports that some of his staff had questioned what it would take for their boss to step down.
“Earlier today I spoke briefly with the president about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community,” Kalanick wrote in a company email. “I also let him know that I would not be able to participate on his economic council. Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the president or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that.”
The situation was made worse after Uber refused to show solidarity with New York City taxi drivers who were striking at JFK airport last Saturday. The firm even announced that it was switching off surge pricing halfway through the strike, making it look as if it had been profiting from the protests.
The company’s actions led to a #DeleteUber campaign, which saw a reported 200,000 people remove the ride-hailing app from their phones. The bad publicity led to Uber's announcement that it had created a $3 million legal fund to help its drivers affected by the ban. But in many people’s eyes, it was too little, too late.
How much Kalanick’s decision helps Uber remains to be seen. Tesla boss Elon Musk, who also sits on the council, believes the best way to bring about change is to remain on the forum. In a tweet yesterday, the Space X CEO said he would express objections to the executive order at a meeting today, and hopes that his position will help bring humanity closer to a “multi-planet civilization.”
Regarding the meeting at the White House: pic.twitter.com/8b1XH4oW6h— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 3, 2017