Uber CEO revealed to have taken employees to escort bar in South Korea

Uber‘s CEO reportedly visited an escort-karaoke bar with his employees in Seoul, South Korea.

Following a number of complaints and controversies surrounding Uber – including the leaving of major executives and multiple complaints about alleged price gouging and employee unfairness – Uber is also under fire for a workplace scandal that has recently come to light.

The most recent issue includes a group of 4 male managers and 1 female manager, as well as CEO Travis Kalanick, and ex-girlfriend Gabi Holzwarth, who reportedly visited an escort karaoke bar in Seoul back in 2014.


Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and ex-girlfriend Gabi Holzwarth.

Gabi Holzwarth told reporters that the women in the bar were wearing “numbered tags”, and the four men that she was with called out their numbers so the women could join their table. She maintains she doesn’t know what happened afterward, since she, Travis Kalanick and the female manager left the bar early. 

Gabi Holzwarth also revealed that she and the anonymous female executive discussed the incident through instant message, where she mentioned that discussing the incident with CEO Travis Kalanich. The anonymous executive also complained to Uber HR, stating that the incident made her uncomfortable.


The incident escalated 3 weeks ago when Gabi Holzwarth got a call from one of the males with her that night, Emil Michael. Emil revealed how he was worried that this information would be leaked. He allegedly told Gabi Holzwarth that if anybody was to ask her about the situation, she should just state that the group simply visited the bar and “had a good time”.

Emil Michael, senior vice president of business for Uber Technologies Inc. / Source: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

When talking to The Information, Gabi Holzwarth pointed out that Michaels request, which she believed was an attempt to silence her, led her to discuss the issue with Travis Kalanick and Rachel Whetstone, the top PR executive at Uber.

“I’m not going to lie for them… [Kalanick] is part of a class of privileged men who have been taught they can do whatever they want, and now they can.”

– Gabi Holzwarth

Later, Emil Michael attempted to clear the issue once reports started generating buzz online.

“Given the intense news cycle, I thought it was the right thing to do to reach out and let her know that reporters may try to contact her directly. I have known her for a long time, consider her a friend and did not want her to be taken by surprise. Her recollection of this conversation was different from mine and I am very sorry if the purpose of my call was misunderstood.”

– Uber Senior Vice President Emil Michael

This news comes after a widespread by post by former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, calling out the widespread sexism and discrimination found within Uber.

Source: The Information.