Uber has had a cash injection from anti-gay Saudi Arabia. A cool £2.4bn to be precise.
The taxi disruptor tech giant, Uber, has had a giant investment from the Saudi Arabia Public Investment fund (royal government’s investment arm) as it plans to expand into the middle east. Saudi Arabia which bans women from driving has found that 80 per cent of Uber’s customers are women. The deal is said to be worth £2.4bn, $3.5bn (US) and is one of the largest investments in a tech firm the country has ever made.
Saudia Arabia is one of the countries where homosexuality can still attract the death sentence. Men found guilty of homosexual acts can be executed by stoning.
The investment now means the company’s value stands at $62.5bn and will give Yasir Al Rumayya, the managing director of public investment fund a chair at one of Silicon Valley’s most prized firms.
Uber has had a troubling history of anti-gay incidents, especially in the US, its home market, with Twitter users reporting their homophobic experiences from drivers on their timelines.
Recently an alleged verbal assault in London left one gay man fearing for his safety after he asked his driver what his ‘craziest’ ride was. The driver, according to customer Lewis Peters, left him in shock, when the driver described two men kissing in the back of his car which he said was “disgusting” and “vile”.
Uber responded by saying,
“Uber celebrates diversity and does not tolerate any form of discrimination whatsoever.
“We take any allegations of discriminatory behaviour very seriously and it is our policy with any serious incident to prevent the partner-driver from using our app while we investigate.”
Does investment from anti-gay governments like Saudi Arabia in a firm like Uber put you off using them?
— TheGayUK Magazine (@TheGayUK) June 2, 2016