Former Teen Vogue editor in chief Elaine Weltworth on Tuesday detailed a racial profiling incident that occurred when she used Uber.
“Dear Uber: I am posting the following video of an incident that occurred yesterday with one of your drivers who refused to drop me at the correct location,” she wrote on her Instagram story Tuesday. Told me ‘it’s not his job’ to make sure I get to the correct destination. (Is this not the definition of the job?). Shouted and demanded that I get out of his car … and then called 911 on me.”
In the accompanying video, Weltworth explains she asked for help recognizing where her destination is.
“There’s no way to tell where I am. So I said, ‘Oh, are we here? Which way is it?’ He said, ‘It’s not my job. It’s not my job to do that. Get out of my car,'” explains the editor who was in an unfamiliar Brooklyn neighborhood.
“He decided to call the police. So this is him,” she says with the driver’s face in the camera frame. “We’re gonna make sure everyone is on the same page about what just happened.”
Then, the driver proceeds to open his door to get out of the car before retreating when Weltworth gets out of the vehicle. He dials 911 and accuses his passenger of “hitting me.”
Even after another driver denies Weltworth hit her, the Uber driver claims she “violated” and “touched” him.
The video concludes there, but afterward, Weltworth posted photos of her bruised arm, which she says came from the driver slamming his door on her. Even though she couldn’t report the driver because she was kicked off the ride-sharing service platform, she managed to get the driver’s license plate and the make and model of his vehicle: a 2016 Toyota Camry.
“I debated long and hard about whether or not to post about this,’ she wrote in another IG story post. “But too often Black women are shamed into silence because of a belief that, no matter what we say or do, no matter who we are, ultimately we will be perceived as just another ‘angry Black woman.’ We are afraid of reputational damage, we are afraid nothing will be done, and frankly, we don’t have time — so we stuff it. We stuff things like this every single day. But you know what? We shouldn’t have to.
“As a Black woman with a platform that I utilize intentionally to bring light, joy, and positivity, I cannot shy away from exposing the kinds of things that happen to women like me every single day. I want you to know it happens to me too. No matter of career success, kindness, clout, education, or money invalidates you from being treated like trash by people you pay to deliver a service to you.”
Weltworth later shared an update saying her friend and mentor Ariana Huffington, who is on Uber’s board called to say she’s intervening to ensure the driver is investigated.
Meanwhile Uber, which did not outright confirm the complaint, issued a statement to “The Cut” saying, “We’re reviewing the matter. What’s been detailed has no place on our app.”
After learning about her experience, followers have been leaving supportive comments on the former editor’s IG page.
“I’m so sorry that @uber incident happened to you! I haven’t had any similar experiences but I have heard similar stories! Xx.”
“SO pissed at that foul experience you had with that @uber driver. I hope his ass gets fired.”
“So sorry about that horrible @uber driver Elaine! I shared a comment on their page asking them to address it! Hope you’re doing okay! 💖🙏🏾💐.”
By Wednesday, Weltworth thanked her followers for backing her up.
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Current status: Heart open, head high! ❤️In the infamous words of Puff and Mase: Can’t nobody take my pride. Can’t nobody hold me down. Oh no. I got-ta keep on mooovin’! Thank you for the outpouring of support, IG fam! I love you, guys!! Know that I will always speak up if I feel like it could help make conditions better for ALL of us. And if your safety or well-being is ever threatened, I hope that you never have to second-guess whether or not you should speak up, too. We are all in this together. Happy #liberation day! #FourthofJuly