- Video has gone viral showing a violent altercation between a San Francisco Uber driver and three women who he asked to leave his car when one entered without a mask.
- Footage shows the women coughing on the driver, snatching his phone, and pulling his face mask off while cursing and insulting him.
- One woman defended the group’s behavior on Instagram, saying they refused to get out because he wanted to drop them off “in the middle of the hood and the freeway.”
- She also threatened to sue Uber saying, “That’s why I use Lyft,” though Lyft quickly joined Uber in banning the rider from its service.
Uber and Lyft have both banned a customer in San Francisco, California who was caught on camera physically assaulting and verbally berating a driver.
The incident reportedly happened at around 12:45 p.m. on Sunday when the Uber driver, Subhakar Khadka, picked up three women and noticed one wasn’t wearing a mask.
Khadka told local reporters that he drove the group to a nearby gas station for one of the masked friends to buy the unmasked passenger a face covering. By the time that friend returned, however, he said the two other passengers were taunting and berating him for picking them up in the first place.
After having enough of the verbal abuse, which allegedly included racial slurs, he decided to end the ride and asked them to leave his car.
Dashcam footage Khadka recorded showed the women screaming and swearing at him, refusing to get out of the car. Two of the women cough on him while one laughs, adding “And I got corona.” Then one of the women reaches over, grabbing the driver’s phone.
“Don’t touch my property,” Khadka warns before the woman pulls his mask off his face.
The woman who snatched his phone and mask recorded some of the exchange herself and posted the footage to her Instagram before turning her account private.
She argued that her group refused to get out because he wanted to drop them off “in the middle of the hood and the freeway.”
Her claims seem to align with remarks she made on the dashcam video, including, “You think you can kick us out in the middle of the f***ing thing? Are you stupid?”
In her own clips, the women and her friends are also heard saying that they won’t get out of the car at the gas station until their next Uber arrives.
Khadka repeatedly tells the women to get out and wait for their next car, even saying he will drive home if they don’t exit and stop wasting his time. He does drive off at one point after they continue to refuse and berate him.
According to police who are investigating the incident, when the group finally did exit, one of the women reached into an open window to spray what was believed to have been pepper spray into the vehicle and towards the driver before fleeing.
Khadka said that spray was so suffocating it forced him out of the car and left a lingering smell as well as colored residue behind.
“Thats Why I Take Lyft,” Suspect Declares
The woman responsible for the majority of the assault against Khadka went on Instagram live to stand by their behavior.
“And he’s lucky as hell I ain’t have nothing on me on momma’s because if he would have played with me bruh, it would’ve been a whole different story. You’re not about to kick me out of the freeway,” she said.
“All I did was smack — take his mask off and cough a little bit, but I ain’t even have corona so at the end of the day…okay yeah, I ain’t gon lie, that was disrespectful as f**k,” she admitted. “I’m deada** wrong for that, but it could have been avoided. Period point-blank. It could’ve been avoided. You could’ve just waited and made sure we was safe.”
“This fucking stupid ass Uber…That’s why I take Lyft!” she added.
She also said she was going to sue Uber, which has already condemned the group’s behavior and banned the rider from the service.
UPDATE: An Uber spokesperson sent me this statement— “The behavior seen in the video is appalling. The rider no longer has access to Uber.”— Dion Lim (@DionLimTV) March 9, 2021
In an act of solidarity, Lyft banned the rider from its app as well. “Although this incident did not involve the Lyft platform, the unacceptable treatment of the driver in this video compelled us to permanently remove the rider from the Lyft community,” the company said. “Driving in a pandemic is not easy. Please wear a mask, respect one another, and be a good person.”
Although this incident did not involve the Lyft platform, the unacceptable treatment of the driver in this video compelled us to permanently remove the rider from the Lyft community. Driving in a pandemic is not easy. Please wear a mask, respect one another, and be a good person.— Lyft (@lyft) March 9, 2021
Crowdfunding Campaign for Driver
As far as Khadka, he has opened up to local reporters about how Uber only offered him $20 to clear his car after the altercation.
The company eventually raised that to $40 and then $120 after much pushback from him.
UPDATE: Subhakar shared these images with me detailing how Uber offered him $20 to clean his car after one of the riders, according to SFPD sprayed what is believed to be pepper spray in his car.— Dion Lim (@DionLimTV) March 9, 2021
Uber then offered him $40. In the end he was given $120 for his ordeal. pic.twitter.com/iEHaf9aYTD
Still, he said it’s not enough to really make up for the cleaning costs and lost wages from all the hours he has been unable to use his car.
Because of that, supporters have created a GoFundMe campaign for him that has already raised well past its $20,000 goal.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post)(The Guardian) (CBS SF)
Tencent Stock Plummet as Company Weighs Video Games Ban for Kids in China
The world’s largest game developer appears fearful that the Chinese government will launch another crackdown on gaming similar to one it launched in 2019 when it limited game time for minors.
No More Video Games
Tencent Holdings, Ltd. — China’s most valuable corporation and the world’s largest gaming company — announced Tuesday that it would consider completely banning games for those under 12-years-old in China.
Tencent also announced that it will now limit playtime for Chinese minors to just 1 hour during weekdays and no more than 2 hours during weekends and holidays. Under a Chinese law set up in 2019, game developers are required to limit minors to just 1 hour and 30 minutes of playtime during weekdays and 3 hours during weekends and holidays.
Additionally, the company explained that it will move forward with plans to enact systems that bar those under 12 from engaging in microtransactions, starting with the largest mobile game, “Honor of Kings” (王者荣耀). It’s possible the ban will extend to some of Tencent’s other holdings, such as “League of Legends” (Riot Games) and “Path of Exile” (Grinding Gear Games), although these changes will likely only affect Chinese users.
Tencent’s decision comes just a day after the Economic Information Daily, a subsidiary of state media giant Xinhua News, said in a now-deleted article that video games were “spiritual opium” and that no industry should continue in a manner that will “destroy a generation.”
Likening video games to opium holds cultural significance in China, which has long disliked narcotics and is sensitive to comparisons to the drug. Using such language, especially by state media, is often seen as a sign that the government is ready to crack down on the industry.
Those fears largely played out over a 24-hour period as shares for Tencent and NetEase, another large game developer in China, plummeted. Tencent’s shares dropped by 11% on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, although it eventually settled at just a 6% loss by the end of Tuesday.
It wasn’t just Chinese gaming companies that were worried. The announcement sent ripples across the entire industry as Nintendo, Capcom, and Nexon shares all were heavily affected as well. One of the reasons that such an article can cast widespread concern is that China has increasingly become the largest market in the $180 billion video game industry, making it larger than the global movie industry and North American professional sports, combined.
Coupled with the recent fall of ActivisionBlizzard’s stock over the last two weeks due to its sexual assault lawsuit and other industry shakeups, over a trillion dollars of market value was wiped out at one point on Tuesday.
See what others are saying: (Associated Press) (Time) (Fox Business)
Google Is Banning “Sugar Dating” Apps as Part of New Sexual Content Restrictions
The change essentially targets apps like Elite Millionaire Singles, SeekingArrangements, Spoil, and tons of other sugar dating platforms.
Sugar Dating Crackdown
Google has announced a series of policy changes to its Android Play Store that include a ban on sugar dating apps starting September 1.
The company’s Play Store policies already prohibit apps that promote “services that may be interpreted as providing sexual acts in exchange for compensation.”
Now, it has updated its wording to specifically include “compensated dating or sexual arrangements where one participant is expected or implied to provide money, gifts or financial support to another participant (‘sugar dating’).”
The change essentially targets apps like Elite Millionaire Singles, SeekingArrangements, Spoil, and tons of other sugar dating platforms currently available for download.
What Prompted the Change?
The company didn’t explain why it’s going after sugar dating apps, but some reports have noted that the move comes amid crackdowns of online sex work following the introduction of the FOSTA-SESTA legislation in 2018, which was meant to curb sex trafficking.
That’s because FOSTA-SESTA created an exception to Section 230 that means website publishers can be held liable if third parties are found to be promoting prostitution, including consensual sex work, on their platforms.
It’s worth noting that just because the apps will no longer be available on the Play Store doesn’t mean the sugar dating platforms themselves are going anywhere. Sugar daters will still be able to access them through their web browsers, or they can just sideload their apps from other places.
Still, the change is likely going to make the use of these sites a little less convenient.
See what others are saying: (The Verge)(Engadget)(Tech Times)
Activision Blizzard CEO Apologizes for “Tone Deaf” Response to Harassment Suit, Unsatisfied Employees Stage Walkout
Organizers of a Wednesday walkout say they “will not return to silence” and “will not be placated by the same processes that led us to this point.”
After a week of growing criticism against its workplace culture, the CEO of Activision Blizzard has finally apologized for how the company first responded to allegations of sexual harassment and assault in its offices.
“Our initial responses to the issues we face together, and to your concerns, were, quite frankly, tone deaf,” CEO Bobby Kotick said Tuesday in a letter to employees. “It is imperative that we acknowledge all perspectives and experiences and respect the feelings of those who have been mistreated in any way. I am sorry that we did not provide the right empathy and understanding.”
In its initial response, Activision Blizzard denounced the disturbing allegations brought forth in a lawsuit by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) as “irresponsible.” The company added that it came from “unaccountable State bureaucrats that are driving many of the State’s best businesses out of California.”
But many current and former employees soon disputed that claim. In fact, at the time, more than 2,500 had signed their name to an open letter condemning the company for its response, which they described as “abhorrent and insulting” to survivors.
In his letter, Kotick promised employees that Blizzard will take “swift action to be the compassionate, caring company you came to work for.”
As part of a series of new policies, he said the company will now offer additional employee support and listening sessions, as well as potential personnel changes to leadership.
“Anyone found to have impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences will be terminated,” he added.
Kotick also said Blizzard will add “compliance resources” to ensure that leadership is adhering to diverse hiring directives.
Lastly, he promised that the company will remove “inappropriate” in-game content. In a similar statement on Tuesday, Blizzard’s World of Warcraft team said it’s actively working to remove “references that are not appropriate for our world,” though it didn’t specify what those references were.
It now appears that many of the references being removed are of the game’s former Senior Creative Director, Alex Afrasiabi, who is cited in the lawsuit as someone who hit on and made unwanted advances at female employees. Moreover, the suit also directly accuses him of groping one woman.
“Afrasiabi was so known to engage in harassment of females that his suite” during company events “was nicknamed the “[Cosby] Suite” after alleged rapist Bill [Cosby],” the suit claims.
Organizers of a company-wide employee walkout, which was announced Tuesday and occurred Wednesday, still argue that Kotick’s latest message doesn’t address their larger concerns.
Among those are “the end of forced arbitration for all employees,” “worker participation in oversight of hiring and promotion policies,” “the need for greater pay transparency to ensure equality,” and “employee selection of a third party to audit HR and other company processes.”
“We will not return to silence; we will not be placated by the same processes that led us to this point.”
Ahead of the walkout, Blizzard reportedly encouraged its own employees to attend, saying those workers would face no repercussions and “can have paid time off” during the demonstration, according to The Verge.