Uber boss calls Khashoggi's murder a 'mistake' by Saudi Arabia, then backtracks

Dara Khosrowshahi made some insensitive comments regarding the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Dara Khosrowshahi made some insensitive comments regarding the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Image Leigh Vogel getty images

When pressed on whether a representative from Saudi Arabia should remain on Uber's board, he said: "I think that government said that they made a mistake".

"We've made mistakes too, right, with self-driving, and we stopped driving and we're recovering from that mistake", Khosrowshahi said.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi called Saudi Arabia's murder of journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi "a mistake", though he later clarified that Saudi actions were "reprehensible and should not be forgotten or excused".

"I think that government said that they made a mistake", Khosrowshahi responded.

But the fact that Uber CEO's first instinct was to defend against the murder of a journalist in order to avoid upsetting an investor, and then repeatedly failed to recognize the seriousness of the situation - calling it first a "mistake" and then a "serious mistake" - is an extraordinary indication of the continued lack or morals or ethics at the ride-hailing company.

Pressed on the issue of the Saudi Arabian government's investment in the company and specifically Uber board member Yasir al-Rumayyan, who represents Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, Khosrowshahi was notably uncomfortable.

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Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by individuals identified as Saudi intelligence officials and a forensic doctor a year ago at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has denied ordering Khashoggi's murder.

Khosrowshahi, who replaced Uber founder Travis Kalanick in 2017, made the comments earlier this week in an Axios interview that aired Sunday.

Karen Attiah, Khashoggi's former editor at The Washington Post's Global Opinions section, said she was deleting her Uber app following Khosrowshahi's words.

Khosrowshahi was referring to a March 2018 accident in which an Uber self-driving test auto collided with a female pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona.

Axios editor Dan Primack, who conducted the interview, tweeted that Khosrowshahi expressed regret for his comments nearly immediately. "So I think that people make mistakes". "Now we're a public company".

Khosrowshahi is one of the few tech executives that skipped Saudi Arabia's annual investment conference this year, though he said it was due to an apparent scheduling conflict.

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In his Monday tweet, Mr Khosrowshahi said he told Axios after the interview: "I said something in the moment I don't believe".

"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. "When it comes to Jamal Khashoggi, his murder was reprehensible and should not be forgotten or excused", said the statement posted on the news website on Monday.

In one case, a woman was killed in the USA state of Arizona after being struck by a auto with faulty software, meaning it was unable to identify her as a pedestrian crossing the street.

"If one of Uber's main investors kills someone it doesn't really matter". "Our investors have long known my views here & I'm sorry I wasn't as clear on Axios".

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi speaks to the media at an event in New Delhi.

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