Uber is under attack once again today as the Twittersphere quickly concluded it was behind a smear campaign against a former engineer for the company, Susan Fowler Rigetti, who dropped a scathing blog post earlier this week detailing sexual harassment claims while working at Uber over the course of a year. But Uber swears it isn’t them.
Rigetti took to Twitter this morning to post that people were being contacted for “personal and intimate info” about her, causing many to conclude Uber was behind these actions.
It’s an easy assumption to make, given the company has said it would be holding an independent investigation into the claims and has used similar tactics before. In 2015, Uber hired a CIA-linked intelligence firm Ergo to look into the background of a conservationist suing the company. It used the same firm in 2016 to look into the backgrounds of the plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against the company.
Uber has also threatened to dig up dirt on journalists critical of its efforts. Who can forget the infamous dinner where Uber senior exec Emil Michael was overheard suggesting the company should look into the backgrounds of antagonistic journalists after Pando founder Sarah Lacey accused the company of an “asshole culture” built on sexism and misogyny and said she would #deleteuber.
However, Uber swears it’s not them this time and that it has not authorized anyone to search into Rigetti’s personal life, either. “This behavior is wrong and Uber is absolutely not involved in it,” Uber told TechCrunch.
Rigetti has yet to get back to us about the earlier tweet but later posted, as first noted by Recode, she doesn’t know “who is doing this or why;” asking her followers to send her the contact information of anyone who might approach them and ask for her personal information.
Meanwhile, the company worth more than $65 billion continues in crisis mode, bringing in former Attorney General Eric Holder and Arianna Huffington to calm fears, holding an hour-long session with HR to answer questions after the weekly company meeting and CEO Travis Kalanick personally met with more than 100 women working for the company last night to hear their concerns over sexism within the company culture.
But with no real timeline offered yet on when or how the company plans to address the issues and plenty of critics, including some early investors, on how it’s doing so far, expect more of a bumpy ride while we sort through the details.
*If you have been approached by anyone looking for personal and intimate information on Rigetti or have information regarding the investigation into these matters at Uber please contact our tip line at tips at techcrunch dot com or reach out to me personally at sarah dot buhr at techcrunch dot com.