Uber boss calls Khashoggi's murder a 'mistake' by Saudi Arabia, then backtracks

"We've made mistakes too", Khosrowshahi said of Khashoggi's murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, before comparing it to last year's self-driving crash.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, pictured, has compared Jamal Khashoggi's assassination to "mistakes" his company made with self-driving cars after one killed a pedestrian and insists the Saudi government can be "forgiven".

Saudi officials claimed he was murdered in a "rogue operation" carried about by a team of agents, while others - including Turkish officials and the Central Intelligence Agency - said the agents acted on orders from the highest levels of the Saudi government, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

But the fact that Uber CEO's first instinct was to defend against the murder of a journalist in order to avoid upsetting an investor, and then repeatedly failed to recognize the seriousness of the situation - calling it first a "mistake" and then a "serious mistake" - is an extraordinary indication of the continued lack or morals or ethics at the ride-hailing company. After entering the building Khashoggi was accosted by Saudi agents who murdered him and apparently dismembered his body.

The CEO of Uber is backtracking after suggesting the vicious murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was simply a "mistake" on Saudi Arabia's part. But Khosrowshahi downplayed the killing as simply a "mistake".

Nonetheless, BoycottUber began to trend on Monday on Twitter, recalling the DeleteUber movement that gathered steam years ago as the company struggled with image problems and lost customers to rival Lyft.

Uber came under fire in March of that same year when its self-driving auto struck and killed a pedestrian, homeless woman Elaine Herzberg, 49, as she was jaywalking with her bike on a dark street in Tempe, Arizona.

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Within hours-and before Axios published the comments-Khosrowshahi walked them back. "People make mistakes, it doesn't mean they can never be forgiven", he said. He called Khashoggi's murder "reprehensible" and something that "should not be forgotten or excused".

In his Monday tweet, Mr Khosrowshahi said he told Axios after the interview: "I said something in the moment I don't believe".

Global Opinions editor at The Washington Post Karen Attiah, who is now on leave, said: 'Uber's CEO is showing us what moral bankruptcy looks like in real time.

"I personally have valued his input greatly", Mr Khosrowshahi said of Mr Al-Rumayyan.

He said at the time: 'I'm very troubled by the reports to date about Jamal Khashoggi.

In a report in June, Agnes Callamard, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, said the journalist was the victim of "deliberate, premeditated execution" for which Saudi Arabia bore responsibility.

Is Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi a psychopath? "Our investors have long known my views here & I'm sorry I wasn't as clear on Axios".

  • Darren Santiago