In response to President Donald Trump’s immigration ban, Lyft pledged on Sunday to donate $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) — spurring many in Hollywood to abandon rival Uber in support of the ride-sharing app.
In a letter from Lyft co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green, the company announced that Lyft stands firmly against Trump's executive order, which blocked U.S. entry for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — for 90 days. It also suspended entry of all refugees for 120 days and barred Syrian refugees indefinitely.
"We created Lyft to be a model for the type of community we want our world to be: diverse, inclusive and safe," began Zimmer and Green in a letter that was emailed to Lyft members Sunday morning. It addressed Trump closing U.S. borders to refugees and immigrants, as well as those with valid visas from the seven countries. "Banning people of a particular faith or creed, race or identity, sexuality or ethnicity, from entering the U.S. is antithetical to both Lyft's and our nations' core values," the letter continued.
The Lyft duo said the company "will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community" and announced they will be donating $1 million over the next four years to the ACLU.
Many in Hollywood applauded Lyft's stance, taking to Twitter to help spread the growing hashtag #DeleteUber and announce that they had abandoned Uber in support of Lyft. Both #DeleteUber and #Lyft were trending on Twitter Sunday afternoon.
"Thank you @lyft! @Uber deleted! Proud of this support to the @ACLU," posted Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Rob Corddry, Michelle Monaghan and Taraji P. Henson posted similar sentiments, while Denis O'Hare tweeted, "Just deleted my Uber app. If they won't stand with us, I won't ride with them."
The hashtag first began to pickup steam Saturday night. Two Iraqis were detained at New York's JFK Airport when the ban went into effect and the New York City Taxi Worker's Alliance called for a complete stop to pickups from the airport. In response, Uber announced that it was suspending its surge pricing from JFK but continued to operate, spurring social media outcry and accusations that the company was using the situation to its monetary advantage.
Many tech giants who rely on foreign engineers and experts for the majority of their workforce, including Google, Apple and Netflix, quickly expressed dismay over the order in the last 24 hours.
Uber, for its part, announced a plan to compensate drivers who are impacted by the ban and stuck overseas. In a Facebook post titled "Standing up for what's right," CEO Travis Kalanick said their team had reached out to the dozen or so employees they know are affected and is "working out a process to identify these drivers and compensate them pro bono during the next three months to help mitigate some of the financial stress and complications with supporting their families and putting food on the table."
For many in Hollywood, Uber's pledge did not compare to Lyft's actions. (See those reactions on social media, below.)
As the movement began to pick up pace Sunday, Uber's Kalanick released a second statement Sunday afternoon, which detailed the email he will be sending to drivers affected by Trump's "unjust" ban.
Kalanick said Uber will provide 24/7 support to drivers attempting to get back into the U.S.; compensate drivers for lost earnings; urge the government to reinstate the right of U.S. residents to travel; and create a $3 million legal defense fund to help affected drivers.
Read the full statement below, which he also posted to his Facebook page, followed by reactions.
At Uber we’ve always believed in standing up for what’s right. Today we need your help supporting drivers who may be impacted by the President's unjust immigration ban.
Drivers who are citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen and live in the US but have left the country, will not be able to return for 90 days. This means they won’t be able to earn money and support their families during this period.
So it’s important that as a community that we do everything we can to help these drivers. Here’s what Uber will do:
- Provide 24/7 legal support for drivers who are trying to get back into the country. Our lawyers and immigration experts will be on call 24/7 to help.
- Compensate drivers for their lost earnings. This will help them support their families and put food on the table while they are banned from the US;
- Urge the government to reinstate the right of U.S. residents to travel - whatever their country of origin - immediately;
- Create a $3 million legal defense fund to help drivers with immigration and translation services.
If you are a driver or a friend or family member of someone who has been affected, please contact us at: https://goo.gl/forms/AIJTivooFxuExX1p1.
Uber is a community. We’re here to support each other. Please help Uber to help drivers who may be affected by this wrong and unjust immigration ban.
Jan. 29, 12:50 p.m.: Updated with Uber statement.