A D.C. bartender claims that an Uber driver kicked him out of his car last month due to homophobia.
Chris “Skipp” Williams says he finished his closing shift as a bartender on U Street on Wednesday, June 27, and ordered an Uber to go home. During the ride, Williams says he called his grandfather on the phone and started talking to him.
“[My granddad] asked me how my night was, and the first thing I say is, ‘ooh darling it has been a night,” Williams says. “‘Oh it’s been busy with all this crazy.'”
Williams, who is openly gay, says that due to being from Georgia, his “tag words” like “honey” and “darling” can also be viewed as gay vocabulary. Williams claims that once he said the word “darling,” the driver discontinued the ride.
“As soon as [the driver] heard the word, darling, he has to pullover…I’m like, wait, this is new. This isn’t my stop,” Williams says. “He said ‘you literally actually need to get out of my car, because I’m not taking you anywhere.’ And, so I’m looking at this man, like, what, wait a minute. What’s wrong?”
After the driver pulled over, Williams says he tried to calm the situation, but the driver said, “If you don’t get out of my car right now, I’m going to call the police.” When Williams tried to ask why, he claims the driver did not answer and called the cops instead.
When police arrived, Williams began recording his interaction with the driver, a video he later posted to his Facebook.
In the video, Williams films the Uber driver as two police officers respond to the scene at a gas station in Columbia Heights. The driver says nothing to Williams as he speaks for the majority of the video, only speaking to the attending officers. The video eventually shows the driver getting into his car and driving away, leaving Williams on the side of the road.
“The way that you just treated me right now and I just sat here and looked at you and told you what the fuck is going on, and you want to sit here and be a bigot? Go ahead,” Williams says in the video.
No police report was filed in regards to the incident, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.
Williams says it took 30 minutes to summon another Uber. When he got home, his anger led him to share the video on social media, where it has been viewed over 7,000 times.
“I was so angry, that I was like, ‘uh-uh. I’m sending this to somebody, somebody’s gotta fix this,'” he says. “I just wanted my friends to see it, and be like, ‘y’all see that shit? Do y’all see this?'”
Naming the driver “#bigotBob” in his Facebook post, Williams claims that the day after the incident, he reported the driver to Uber for discrimination. An Uber representative, only identified by the first name Laurence, apparently told him the ridesharing app was launching an investigation.
In a statement to Metro Weekly, an Uber spokesperson said: “We have a clear non-discrimination policy and take these types of reports very seriously. We have a dedicated team that investigates all reports of discrimination and will take appropriate action.”
Williams claims that Uber contacting him to tell him that the driver had claimed he was “overly flirtatious” during the ride and “used physical contact,” and is considering further legal action because of it. Uber denied commenting on this accusation.
Williams says that the driver should have started a conversation rather than eject him from the car.
“Instead of trying to push your beliefs on someone else, maybe instead, have a conversation,” Williams says. “Maybe instead try to understand who that person is.”
He added: “I think that we should just…love each other more. And if you don’t like me, you don’t have to like me, you don’t have to love me, but what I do require of you is to respect me.”
Recently, stories have arisen of LGBTQ people allegedly having rideshares end due to homophobic drivers. In the last two months, a lesbian couple in an Uber and a gay couple in a Lyft both claimed they were removed for kissing in the back seat of their driver’s car