As Loomis noted yesterday, Travis Kalanick did not receive the memo that protest doesn’t work and has dropped off Trump’s business advisory council. In his letter to Uber employees (which I assume did not include drivers), Kalanick did not mention #DeleteUber or the fact it was caused by a corporate decision that was communicated to customers via social media and then blew up in the company’s face.
He did cite a “a perception-reality gap” between what Uber is and what people think it is. That is, the gap between what Uber is (exploitative, strike-breaking trash) and what Kalanick wants people to think it is (check the company’s About page if you want to know), because some perception-reality gaps are more acceptable than others. And he claimed membership on the board would get in the way of the company’s desire to promote “Just change,” which is the sort of phrase exploitative capitalist trash beings like to toss around in lieu of not screwing people over. And perhaps describes what Uber drivers earn after they cover their expenses.
I don’t know if Kalanick is confused or attempting to confuse the issue to win back customers, and I am not interested in his motives. To the extent that this is another rebuke that will leave a deep, slow-healing scratch in Trump’s ego, that’s great. But the fact is sitting on this council helps normalize the latest, greatest horror the GOP has unleashed on the world.
The CEOs want to pretend that working with The Trumper Tantrum in Chief is just business as usual. They’d like the public’s perception to be that they’re just there to be captains of industry, which is bad enough but still lauded by the majority of the public. Elon Musk wants everyone to believe he’s there to be the voice of reason, which would be a howler even if Tesla weren’t reliant on subsidies to function.
However, sitting down at a table with Steve Bannon’s water boy makes it clear that they’re so greedy that they’ll work with anyone no matter how vile, stupid, and at the end of the day unwilling to listen to anyone who isn’t Donald Trump. This fact and the tacit approval of his policies should be hung around their necks. They should be subjected to boycotts and condemnation when possible and condemnation when a boycott isn’t possible.
For example, health care providers and clinical staff across the country are already pressuring CEO Toby Cosgrove to leave the council because of the Muslim ban. But CC is an influential business – and one that is expanding to other states – so it makes sense for current and potential customers to let him know that he’s making the brand stink. This link provides contact info for most of the council members and moments of harmless entertainment from the comfort of your home/cubicle.