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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Uber boss Travis Kalanick quits Trump advisory council

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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned from his role on Donald Trump’s economic advisory council in the wake of the US president’s immigration ban.

In a memo sent to Uber staff that quickly leaked online, Kalanick said he had spoken to President Trump about the executive order that banned immigrants and visitors from seven countries entering the US – an order that led to widespread condemnation from around the world and mass protests.

“Earlier today I spoke briefly with the President about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community,” Kalanick wrote in his memo.
“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 ride sharing service found itself at the centre of the protests surrounding the ban when, after taxis temporarily boycotted New York’s JFK airport last weekend in solidarity with those protesting the banning of refugees and restricting of Muslims entering the country, Uber not only carried on service at the airport but applied a surge charge.

A move that was interpreted by some as looking to profit on the protests.

Soon, #DeleteUber was trending on Twitter as a boycott campaign sparked into life and fierce rival Lyft was propelled towards the top of US App Store charts as customers voted with their feet and went elsewhere.
News of Kalanick’s decision to step back from Trump’s council was merrily greeted on social media.

Many of Silicon Valley’s major CEOs have spoken out against Trump’s immigration ban, with some also announcing plans to support legal challenges of the ban or make donations to civil liberties organisations.

Kalanick was not initially as firm in his criticism, tweeting last week that he would “raise the issue” of the ban with the president. He strengthened his rhetoric as the #DeleteUber campaign began to take off and has now taken the decision to distance himself from the President.

Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk remains on the council, but has expressed his opposition to the travel ban.

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