Anti-bullying activist Lucy Thomas was in an Uber with her partner Chelsea Lang in Melbourne on the weekend, chatting casually with the driver. When the conversation shifted to the topic of AFL, the driver started calling the players “faggots” and using other slurs.
Thomas asked the driver to stop using that language, at which point he realised that the women were in a relationship and turned his tirade on them.
“It’s like a cloud came over him. He’d been aggressive but cheery, but then he was quite attacking toward [Thomas’ partner]. He was calling her a faggot repeatedly, and was quite aggressive in his tone,” Thomas told Buzzfeed News.
“He said to me, ‘you must be a faggot otherwise you wouldn’t care’. Then he realised we were together, which he hadn’t realised because maybe we didn’t look the way two women in a relationship are expected to look,” Thomas said.
The Uber stopped outside Thomas’ house but the car was locked, which made the women to feel threatened. Thomas pulled out her phone and told the driver she would be recording what he was saying.
Her voice recording is here.
Warning: distressing homophobic content.
After his vile rant the driver unlocked the doors and watched the women enter their house before driving off.
The women filed a complaint to Uber immediately, and while the company was quick to respond they told Thomas they couldn’t tell her the outcome of the complaint due to the driver’s privacy.
“Their policy is really messed up and problematic. It’s centred on privacy - both the driver’s and mine - but that’s imbalanced, because the driver already has my address,” she told BuzzFeed News.
However, after Thomas tweeted about the incident, Uber were extremely quick to respond, firing the driver.
Thomas thanked Uber Australia for their actions.
The driving company says they have zero tolerance for abuse and harassment in their code of conduct.