Trending: Seattle shooting rattles tech companies and raises concerns about safety of city’s urban core

uberxBuzzfeed today published a report about an Uber executive who wanted to spend $1 million to dig up dirt on a journalist as a form of retaliation following a column that criticized the company.

The story, penned by Buzzfeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith, explained how Uber Senior Vice President of Business Emil Michael discussed the idea of hiring a team of researchers who could expose journalists and “give the media a taste of its own medicine,” as Smith wrote. Michael, who made the comments at a dinner party in New York City attended by people like Ariana Huffington and Ed Norton, thought his conversation was off the record.

The idea to expose journalists seemed to stem from a column written by PandoDaily co-founder Sarah Lacy, who explained how she uninstalled Uber from her phone after she became frustrated with Uber’s “asshole culture.”

“I don’t know how many more signals we need that the company simply doesn’t respect us or prioritize our safety,” Lacy wrote.

Michael apologized for his remarks in a statement and said they do not represent his “actual views and have no relation to the company’s views or approach.” An Uber spokesperson said the company does not, and will not dig up dirt on journalists.

Today’s Buzzfeed report is certainly not helping Uber’s reputation — see below — which has already taken a hit for the company’s marketing and recruiting tactics. Read the full story here.

Update, 10:45 p.m. PT — Lacy wrote a long post in response to Smith’s piece. “The market is turning on Uber, seeing the company’s soul for what it is,” she notes. “With any luck, Ben Smith’s scoop will finally force real change from the inside.” After Smith published his article, Emil Michael called Lacy and wanted to talk off the record. Once Lacy refused, Michael apologized to her in an email.

Update, Nov. 18 at 11:45 a.m. — Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has issued a statement in regard to Michael’s comments via a 11-part tweetstorm. Kalanick said that Michael’s remarks “showed a lack of leadership, a lack of humanity, and departure from our values and ideals.” But it does not appear that Michael has been fired.

Check out the tweets here.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.