Smith reports that, at a dinner at Manhattan’s Waverly Inn, hosted by Iam Osborne, and attended by Edward Norton and publisher Arianna Huffington, Michael outlines the notion of spending “a million dollars” to hire four top opposition researchers and four journalists. That team could, he said, help Uber fight back against the press:
[they’d look into] your personal lives, your families,” and give the media a taste of its own medicine.
Michael expresses outrage at Lacy, who had recently accused Uber of “sexism and misogyny,” and who had wrote of deleting her Uber app after the company hired french prostitutes to promote its service in France.
At the dinner, Michael expressed outrage at Lacy’s column and said that women are far more likely to get assaulted by taxi drivers than Uber drivers. He said that he thought Lacy should be held “personally responsible” for any woman who followed her lead in deleting Uber and was then sexually assaulted. Then he returned to the opposition research plan. Uber’s dirt-diggers, Michael said, could expose Lacy. They could, in particular, prove a particular and very specific claim about her personal life. Michael at no point suggested that Uber has actually hired opposition researchers, or that it plans to. He cast it as something that would make sense, that the company would be justified in doing.
In a statement through Uber Monday evening, Michael says he regretted them and that they didn’t reflect his or the company’s views.
The remarks attributed to me at a private dinner — borne out of frustration during an informal debate over what I feel is sensationalistic media coverage of the company I am proud to work for — do not reflect my actual views and have no relation to the company’s views or approach. They were wrong no matter the circumstance and I regret them.