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Uber CEO condemns executive who suggested digging up dirt on critics

Uber co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick took to Twitter to comment on a report that company executive Emil Michael had suggested hiring opposition researchers to target journalists critical of Uber.

Michael’s comments were reportedly made Friday night at a dinner he thought was off the record. A BuzzFeed editor was in attendance, and the site broke the news Monday evening –

Over dinner, he outlined the notion of spending “a million dollars” to hire four top opposition researchers and four journalists. That team could, he said, help Uber fight back against the press — they’d look into “your personal lives, your families,” and give the media a taste of its own medicine.

Michael was particularly focused on one journalist, Sarah Lacy, the editor of the Silicon Valley website PandoDaily, a sometimes combative voice inside the industry. Lacy recently accused Uber of “sexism and misogyny.” She wrote that she was deleting her Uber app after BuzzFeed News reported that Uber appeared to be working with a French escort service. “I don’t know how many more signals we need that the company simply doesn’t respect us or prioritize our safety,” she wrote.

At the dinner, Michael expressed outrage at Lacy’s column and said that women are far more likely to get assaulted by taxi drivers than Uber drivers. He said that he thought Lacy should be held “personally responsible” for any woman who followed her lead in deleting Uber and was then sexually assaulted.

Sarah Lacy has published her own take on the matter, going into extensive detail about what she calls the “lengths that at least one Uber executive, Emil Michael, was willing to go to discredit anyone– particularly a woman– who may try to question how Uber operates.”

Lacy said Michael called her and asked to talk to her, off the record. When she refused, Lacy says he emailed her an apology.

Kalanick’s statement came in the form of a tweetstorm, wherein the user ignores Twitter’s 140-character limit to flood the platform with a sea of messages. Kalanick said Michael’s comments were terrible and did not represent the company.

He gave a public apology to Lacy and said Uber should redouble its efforts to show the public that the company is “principled and mean well.”

The full tweetstorm –