Lesbian Couple Says They Were Kicked From Uber Over a 'Peck'

Marco Green
June 12, 2018

A lesbian couple claimed they were kicked out of their Uber by their driver on Saturday after sharing a quick kiss in the backseat of the vehicle.

"We were sitting on opposite sides of the vehicle", Iovine said.

The PDA was too much for the driver, who pulled the auto over on Canal St.as it reached the other side of the Manhattan Bridge.The experience opened the couple's eyes to how pervasive prejudice can be.

Iovine, who did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment, referred to the driver as "homophobic" and said she believed the driver was offended by the kiss because of his religion.

"My girlfriend started laughing", she said. She thought he was joking, ' Iovine, an advertising technology consultant, said.

She said they had had two drinks at the Gowanus bar, but were far from drunk.

"Uber does not tolerate any form of discrimination", the spokesperson said.

The couple was travelling through NY when they claim El Boutari saw them sharing a moment and stopped his auto before forcing them out and calling the women "disrespectful".

Iovine presses him to explain, asking: 'Why are we not allowed to kiss in an Uber?' And by tidying up after yourself - whether it's taking your trash home or cleaning up a spilled drink - you'll keep the auto in good condition and ensure the next person has a pleasant ride, too.

"Why are we not allowed to kiss in an Uber?" The video, which noted the driver's name and his license plate number, has been viewed more than 1,400 times.

'It's illegal, ' he said. "It's not illegal to kiss in NY".

'It's disrespectful, ' he says as he reaches for the phone to stop the recording.

Elbotari said Iovine is only telling half the story. Elbotari replies, "I don't give a shit". "That's how fast it was that's why I say 'pecked'".

Elbotari said the couple were acting crude in his cab.

He told the Daily News that he "didn't feel comfortable" with the women, who he added were playing loud videos on their phones and exhibiting other behavior he found inappropriate.

After the couple complained to Uber, the company's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi condemned El Boutari's actions, saying: "I think they don't belong driving, period".

"It's illegal", he is heard saying after being asked why he's kicking them out. Elbotari said that he would do the same for a straight couple, but admitted that he has less tolerance for a same-sex couple.

Uber refunded the $22 fare and apologized to her for the inconvenience. "That's no sexual conduct between drivers and riders, no matter what".

The 26-year-old also filed a complaint with the city's Human Right's Commission.

Uber and the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission is investigating the incident.

"We've reached out to the victim, and will be starting the investigation today", Deputy Commissioner Allan Fromberg told the newspaper.

"Obviously, he's homophobic", she said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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