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Public uproar forces Uber CEO to leave Trump advisory position

A picture taken on January 18, 2015 shows Travis Kalanick, co-founder of the US transportation network company Uber, speaking during the opening of the Digital Life Design (DLD) Conference in Munich, southern Germany. The car-sharing start-up Uber can create as many as 50,000 jobs in Europe this year as part of a "new partnership" with European cities, its chief executive told at the conference in Munich. AFP PHOTO / DPA / TOBIAS HASE/AFP/Getty Images

Public outcry forced the CEO of Uber to step down from President Trump's economic advisory board Wednesday. Opponents of Trump criticized the CEO, Travis Kalanick, for appearing to side with the president against protesters speaking out against the controversial travel restrictions from Muslim-majority nations. 

Kalanick said in his statement that he brought up the issue with Trump when notifying him of his departure.

Earlier today I spoke briefly with the president about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community. 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 outrage overflowed onto social media when Uber announced they would suspend "surge pricing" at JFK airport while taxi cab drivers were avoiding the area to protest Trump's executive order. This was perceived as support for the ban, and precipitated a social media movement to delete the Uber app in protest.

Kalanick had released a statement defending his position on the economic board soon after the outrage. "I understand that many people internally and externally may not agree with that decision, and that’s OK," he wrote. "It’s the magic of living in America that people are free to disagree. But whatever your view please know that I’ve always believed in principled confrontation and just change; and have never shied away (maybe to my detriment) from fighting for what’s right."

Many protesters switched to Lyft, a ride-sharing competitor, after the company put out a statement slamming the ban.

Banning people of a particular faith or creed, race or identity, sexuality or ethnicity, from entering the U.S. is antithetical to both Lyft’s and our nation’s core values. We stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community.

Uber also announced they would compensate their drivers who were affected negatively by the order, and set up a legal defense fund to help them.

One last thing…
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