Big-name celebrities are heeding the call to #DeleteUber over the app seeming to capitalize on protests in New York. The move came during the same weekend that the American Civil Liberties Union received $24.1 million in donations after challenging President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban.
The order on the ban, which was signed Friday, Jan. 27, and temporarily blocks citizens from several majority-Muslim countries from coming to the U.S., is at the center of the controversy surrounding Uber. Entertainment Weekly reported protesters settled at John F. Kennedy International Airport and taxi drivers in the New York Taxi Workers Alliance lent their support by denying rides to passengers there.
Uber New York City tweeted Saturday, Jan. 28, it would not employ surge pricing at JFK rather than refusing service altogether and the public became furious, accusing it of breaking the strike.
Surge pricing has been turned off at #JFK Airport. This may result in longer wait times. Please be patient.
— Uber NYC (@Uber_NYC) January 29, 2017
In response, several entertainers took to social media to publicly say they will no longer support the company, including “Hidden Figures” co-stars Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monáe and Jesse Williams.
— Taraji P. Henson (@TherealTaraji) January 29, 2017
— jesse Williams. (@iJesseWilliams) January 29, 2017
— Jordan Peele (@JordanPeele) January 29, 2017
— Tessa Thompson (@TessaThompson_x) January 29, 2017
uber's headass ceo supports the muslim ban, everyone please use lyft
— Aminé (@heyamine) January 29, 2017
Uber NYC’s Twitter page clarified the tweet was not meant to take advantage of the protests and spokesperson for Uber told Fortune the company wanted to make sure it didn’t seem like it was attempting to profit from the effort. CEO Travis Kalanick explained on Facebook that the company will, among other things, “create a $3 million legal defense fund to help drivers with immigration and translation services.”
Uber’s direct competitor, Lyft pledged $1 million to the ACLU in light of the immigration ban. That will add to the $24.1 million raised by more than 350,000 people, CNN reported Monday, Jan. 24. Membership for the nonprofit organization has been increasing since Trump’s presidency and many of the weekend’s contributors had not previously donated. The hefty gifts, which amounted to six times as many donations the ACLU receives in a year, will go towards expanding its staff.