Uber Takes Action Against White Supremacists in Response to Charlottesville Violence

The company sent a message to drivers and employees condemning the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Hemant Mishra/Mint

Uber reinforced its policy against discrimination and banned white supremacists from using its app in the wake of violence perpetrated by groups associated with that ideology in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"There is simply no place for this type of bigotry, discrimination, and hate," Uber Regional General Manager Meghan Verena Joyce said in an official message to drivers and employees. The message, which was posted to Twitter by New York Times journalist Mike Isaac, said that Uber will "act swiftly and decisively to uphold our community guidelines, including our policy against discrimination of any kind—that includes banning people from the app."

Uber did just that over the weekend, banning white supremacist James Allsup after Allsup and right-wing personality Tim "Baked Alaska" Gionet allegedly made racist remarks while riding past the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. The pair's remarks made the driver, an unidentified black woman, so uncomfortable that she asked them to get out of the car, according to Buzzfeed News

In a statement obtained by Buzzfeed News, Uber noted that drivers always have the right to refuse service, and said "the rider has been permanently removed from our platform."

Uber's decision to move against white supremacists based on information from the personal accounts of riders and drivers marks a shift in how tech companies are responding to hate groups, notes The Verge. After shying away from aggressively policing online hate speech, companies are now cracking down on users who threaten violence offline. For Uber, that means getting more involved in the interactions between its drivers and riders than it previously has.