A New York Uber and cab driver has found himself out of work after kicking a lesbian couple out of his car in the middle of a trip, reports CNBC.
Alex Iovine and Emma Pichl hailed an Uber in Brooklyn for a ride to Manhattan.
“We were sitting in the two window seats with the middle seat between us,” Iovine told CNBC. “At one point we turned to each other and pecked on the lips.”
That was when the driver, Ahmad El Boutari, stopped the car and asked the couple to get out. They thought he was joking, but realized he was serious when he got out of the car, opened the back door, and repeated his request. They got out, and then Iovine started recording on her cell phone.
El Boutari can be heard claiming that their kiss was illegal and disrespectful. Indeed, this could be a particularly strict interpretation of Uber’s community guidelines, which state: “Don’t touch or flirt with other people in the car. As a reminder, Uber has a no sex rule. That’s no sexual conduct between drivers and riders, no matter what.”
But Uber’s community guidelines for drivers also explicitly prohibit discrimination. “It is unacceptable to refuse to provide services based on characteristics like a person’s race, color, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, sex, marital status, gender identity, age, or any other characteristic protected under relevant federal, state, or local law. Actions like these may result in permanent deactivation of your account.”
Uber does not have the greatest reputation when it comes to passenger harassment and assault. However, in this case, the company removed El Boutari’s access to the Uber app on Monday.
“This is an open society and Uber is a platform that is available to anybody regardless of your background, your orientation, and that is sacred to us,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told the New York Post. “It’s an unfortunate circumstance and we will do everything we can for that not to repeat.”
Uber is not alone. Late Tuesday, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission suspended El Boutari’s taxi license pending an investigation.
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