Earlier today it was reported that the CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick, has decided to step down from Trump’s advisory council after the backlash Uber got through the #deleteuber boycott campaign. Users who were unsatisfied with Trump’s presidency took Travis’ position as a sign that he endorsed the newly elected President. Unwilling to let that assumption be made, Travis stepped down from the position.
Before this incident occurred, Travis tweeted a message saying, “I’m going to use my position on Pres economic council to stand up for what’s right.”
This message was quickly disregarded later in the week, as the boycotts started. In an email to the Uber employees, he had a change of heart, “There are many ways we will continue to advocate for just change on immigration but staying on the council was going to get in the way of that.”
But here’s my question: Was it an ethical decision for him to leave the advisory council due to the backlash his company received? At first, I want to say no, it wasn’t an ethical decision. I would argue that this decision was completely based on his company’s revenue. According to Cheshire Calhoun, integrity and standing by one’s principles is a personal virtue. In this context, what Travis is trying to show people is that he believes in helping the refugees that were affected by Trump’s executive order. However, due to social backlash, he stepped down from which appeared to be a somewhat powerful position.
Now, there is a point of arguing just how much power Trump’s advisory’s had. For my point to made, we have to assume that Travis would have had some more power on Trump’s board rather than off it.
If Travis was really committed to helping refugees, then based on this would it not be better to stay on the board? Even if it meant that his company would lose some profit? He knows that his intention was to never agree with Trump, even if that’s what others perceived. So with that in mind, I think that if Travis Kalanick really wanted to help people, staying on the board would give him more influence to do just that. Instead, he decided to save his company and what’s left of his face value.