Uber CEO backtracks after calling murder of Saudi reporter a ‘error’

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Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi

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Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi on phase at Tech Crunch Disrupt 2018 in San Francisco.


James Martin/CNET

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi seems backtracking after calling the murder of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi “a serious mistake.” During an interview with Axios on HBO that aired Sunday, Khosrowshahi safeguarded the nation’s financial investment in Uber. He stated the murder of Khashoggi by the Saudi federal government was an error, comparable to how a deadly mishap including among Uber’s self-driving cars and trucks was an error. 

“People make mistakes,” Khosrowshahi stated. “It doesn’t mean that they can never be forgiven. I think they’ve taken it seriously.”  

Saudi Arabia is Uber’s 5th most significant investor. And among the business’s board members, Yasir Al Rumayyan, is the handling director of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. Khosrowshahi stated Sunday that Rumayyan is a “very constructive” board member which Saudi Arabia is “just like any other shareholder now.”

One hour after Khosrowshahi’s interview, Axios reported that the CEO contacted us to reveal remorse over his option of words relating to Khashoggi. He followed up with a declaration the next day. 

“I said something in the moment that I do not believe,” Khosrowshahi informed Axios. “When it comes to Jamal Khashoggi, his murder was reprehensible and should not be forgotten or excused.”

Khosrowshahi repeated the declaration in a tweet on Monday. 

“There’s no forgiving or forgetting what happened to Jamal Khashoggi & I was wrong to call it a ‘mistake’,” he tweeted. “Our investors have long known my views here & I’m sorry I wasn’t as clear on Axios.”

Last year, Khosrowshahi pulled Uber out of a significant Saudi Arabian financial investment conference stating it was the ideal thing to do at the time and he wished to await more realities to emerge around Khashoggi’s assassination. Uber didn’t participate in the conference once again this year. Khosrowshahi stated in the interview with Axios that Uber didn’t attend this year since it had a board conference at the very same time. 

Khashoggi, a popular dissident and critic of the Saudi federal government, was killed in October 2018 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. He was stated to have actually been strangled and dismembered by a 15-member assassination team. 

Both the CIA and a UN examination have actually apparently discovered that the Saudi federal government was accountable for Khashoggi’s murder which Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman might have know. The crown prince has actually rejected buying Khashoggi’s murder however acknowledged it “was committed by individuals working for the Saudi government.”

After Khosrowshahi’s interview aired on Axios, the hashtags #DeleteUber and #BoycottUber started trending on Twitter. Karen Attiah, among Khashoggi’s previous editors at the Washington Post, stated she erased her Uber app over the CEO’s remarks.

“If one of Uber’s main investors kills someone it doesn’t really matter. A representative of a murderous regime can still keep a board seat,” Attiah tweeted. “When you’re rich, your crimes become ‘mistakes’. #BoycottUber.”

An Uber spokesperson pointed CNET to Khosrowshahi’s tweet on Monday and decreased to comment even more.

Originally released Nov. 11, 7: 11 a.m. PT. Update, 11: 44 a.m.:  Adds extra background info.


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