Hours after Lyft’s co-founders announced a $1-million donation to the American Civil Liberties Union to "defend the
Constitution,” Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick pulled out his pocket book as well.
Kalanick promised in a Facebook post that the company would create a $3-million legal defense fund to help drivers affected by the Trump administration's move to restrict immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries. The fund will help drivers with immigration and translation services. Kalanick also said the San Francisco ride-hailing company will provide 24/7 legal support to drivers stuck outside the country and compensate them for lost earnings. Drivers eligible for assistance were directed to contact the company via an online form.
Although the announcement was greeted with some support on Facebook and Twitter, many saw it as too little too late. The company had come under fire a day earlier for advertising on Twitter that it was operating at New York’s Kennedy International Airport during a taxi strike protesting the executive order.
That gaffe, coupled with Kalanick’s involvement in a panel advising President Trump on economic issues, helped spawn the Twitter hashtag #DeleteUber, which encouraged customers to delete the app from their phones in protest.
“You are 20 hours too late,” one person wrote in response to Kalanick’s Facebook post.
“Still deleted my account today,” wrote another.
Though Kalanick issued a statement on Saturday opposing the executive order, it didn't stop thousands of Twitter users from adopting the trending the #DeleteUber hashtag to decry Uber’s actions. They accused the company of attempting to profit from the strike and prioritizing business interests over a moral imperative. Celebrities also jumped on the bandwagon, with actor and activist George Takei on Sunday tweeting to his 2.9 million followers: "Lyft donates $1mil to ACLU while Uber doubles down on its support for Trump. #DeleteUber."