Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is facing harsh criticism after he defended the Saudi government, one of the largest investors in Uber, on a TV news show that aired Sunday night. He noted that Uber has also made mistakes, including with self-driving cars, which caused a woman's death in 2018.
Khosrowshahi compared Saudi Arabia's "mistakes" to those Uber has made with self-driving cars; previous year, an autonomous Uber vehicle hit and killed a woman in Arizona. The CIA reportedly concluded in November 2018 that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi's killing.
Saudi Arabia is Uber's fifth-largest shareholder and the head of its sovereign wealth fund, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, is a member of the board.
Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said at the time, referring to reports from the Turkish government that said Saudi agents used a bone saw to dismember Khashoggi after he was killed in the Istanbul consulate, where he had gone to obtain paperwork enabling him to marry his fiancee.
During an interview with USA television series Axios, Uber chief Dara Khosrowshahi was asked about Khashoggi's brutal murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. When he was asked about the vicious killing of Khashoggi, the Uber CEO downplayed the violence, suggesting that bygones be bygones.
The comments saw #BoycottUber trending on Twitter by Monday morning and the company's share price drop slightly.
A self-driving Uber test vehicle struck and killed a female pedestrian in the accident in Tempe, Arizona. "When it comes to Jamal Khashoggi, his murder was reprehensible and should not be forgotten or excused", Khosrowshahi said in his statement.
"People make mistakes, it doesn't mean that they can never be forgiven, I think that they've taken it seriously", Khosrowshahi said.
"A mistake is accidentally not replacing the toilet paper if you're the last to use it", another user wrote.
"A United Nations expert earlier this year concluded that Khashoggi's death was "an extrajudicial execution" and that there was credible evidence" that the crown prince and other high-level officials were individually liable.
Khosrowshahi later said he regretted his comments. The CEO said he didn't know if he would have attended if there had been no timing conflict.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi on stage at Tech Crunch Disrupt 2018 in San Francisco. "Our investors have long known my views here & I'm sorry I wasn't as clear on Axios".
This isn't the first time the company has been hacked - or failed to report it. Uber with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman previous year after it took several months to own up to a data breach.