Uber is having a hard time making inroads in France.
French authorities have slapped the car ride service with a €100,000 fine for being an unregulated taxi service and have threatened other restrictions.
Uber’s plan to dig itself out of that hole involved giving people in the city of Lyon free, 20-minute rides in cars driven by models. The company paired up
with a website and app called “Avions de Chasse” (the French term for “fighter jets,” which is a slang equivalent to “hot chicks”) to launch the promotion.
Customers were invited to enter the code “UBERAVIONS” into the Uber app to get picked up by a model.
caught wind of the promotion and immediately called out the language in the company’s blog post about it as “sexist.” The post, which has been deleted,
reportedly asked, “Who said women don’t know how to drive?”
Uber canceled the promotion and apologized Wednesday. In an email statement to CNN, a spokesman for the company said, “It was a clear
misjudgment by the local team.”
Uber Lyon also tweeted this:
Pierre Garonnaire, co-founder of the Avions de Chasse website, said there were plans to expand the promotion into other cities, but they’ve been ruined by
“[Uber Lyon] didn't anticipate the reaction of Uber U.S.,” Garonnaire told CNN. “In the U.S., you are more Puritan. For me and most of the people of
France, it was a good [idea]. It was fun."
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