In the wake of the incident in India in 2014, local backlash was swift: Uber was temporarily banned in Delhi until July 2015, and the attack prompted an international conversation about how ride-hailing companies should protect female customers. The driver in the attack was found guilty, and sentenced to life in prison. But some Uber executives had a hard time believing the incident had happened, according to Recode. While C.E.O. Travis Kalanick released a statement denouncing the “horrific” assault, privately, he and other top executives speculated that Ola, an Indian Uber competitor, was behind the incident and was using it to sabotage Uber. Alexander obtained the medical record of the victim while he was in India (it’s unclear by what means the record was obtained), and shared it with both Kalanick and V.P. of business Emil Michael. All three men looked at the medical record, Recode reports, though none are medical professionals. Alexander carried around the victim’s medical record for a year. (Uber and Alexander did not immediately respond to requests for comment).
The latest bad headline is sure to increase pressure on Kalanick, whose $70 billion company has weathered a deluge of negative press since the beginning of the year, when allegations of sexual harassment by a former Uber engineer, Susan Fowler, sparked a major P.R. crisis. (“I have just read Susan Fowler’s blog,” Kalanick said when Fowler’s blog post went viral earlier this year. “What she describes is abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in. It’s the first time this has come to my attention, so I have instructed Liane Hornsey, our new chief human resources officer, to conduct an urgent investigation into these allegations. We seek to make Uber a just workplace FOR EVERYONE and there can be absolutely no place for this kind of behavior at Uber — and anyone who behaves this way or thinks this is O.K. will be fired”). News of Alexander’s ouster follows a spate of mass firings at Uber, as more than 20 employees were abruptly dismissed for inappropriate workplace behavior following an internal probe. The results of a separate audit by former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder have been reviewed by a small number of Uber board members but have yet to be released more widely, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. Uber has made two big executive hires—both women—this week, snapping up Bozoma Saint John from Apple to serve as its chief brand officer, and Harvard Business School’s Frances Frei as its S.V.P. of leadership and strategy. Bernard Coleman, Uber’s head of global diversity and inclusion, said on Tuesday that the company’s internal probe into harassment was just the “first step of many.” It seems Uber’s executive team has its work cut out for it.