Two women in California said they were kicked out of their Uber after their driver discovered they were coming from a pro-Israel festival, the Jewish Journal reported.
The women, who were identified in the article by pseudonyms, said they had ordered the Uber to pick them up on May 19 from the Celebrate Israel Festival, organized by the Israeli-American Council. According to them, the driver asked them what event they were coming from, and when they told them it was a celebration of Israel’s Independence Day, he ordered them out of the car.
“He started laughing and he looked us dead in the eye and he said, ‘You need to get out of my car. I’m Palestinian,’ ” said one of the women, Dayna. “The only reason I can think of that he would ask us which event we were coming from is he clearly wanted to make a statement. It was clear by the families crossing the street and the security that it was an Israel Independence event.”
“We definitely felt threatened,” she added. “I take Ubers twice a day to and from work and I’ve never been told to get out of someone’s car because I’m Jewish.”
After the incident, Dayna emailed a complaint to Uber and received an automatic response compensating her for the ride — but not a human response, let alone an apology. But Uber did respond after being contacted by the Jewish Journal. “Uber does not tolerate any form of discrimination,” a spokesperson wrote. “What’s been described is horrible and the driver no longer has access to the app.”
“Hearing that the guy was banned is huge,” Dayna said after the Jewish Journal informed her of Uber’s response. “The only issue is that they only handled it when a newspaper reached out. There’s really no recourse for a user in this situation, other than a generic dropdown menu and a complaint of a driver acting unprofessionally.”
This is not the first report of anti-Semitic bias from Uber contractors. Drivers in London and Chicago have been banned from using the app in the past year after reports of discrimination against Jews and Israelis.