Uber CEO Travis Kalanick will reportedly step down from President Donald Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum, according to an email he sent to employees Thursday. Re/code also reports that sources have confirmed Kalanick's exit from the council. This comes just one day before the board's first official meeting on Friday.
"Earlier today I spoke briefly with the president about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community," Kalanick wrote in the email, which was obtained by the New York Times. "I also let him know that I would not be able to participate on his economic council. Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the president or his agenda, but unfortunately, it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that."
The move follows a wave of condemnation against Kalanick's ride-sharing company. Following Trump's immigration ban, users rushed to delete the app in response to Kalanick's continued willingness to work alongside the president.
The Independent Drivers Guild launched a petition Thursday urging Kalanick to step down. It also asked Uber to contribute to nonprofit organizations fighting the ban, publicly state it wouldn't penalize drivers for protesting the ban and implement a tipping feature within the app.
"This is an important show of solidarity with the immigrant drivers who helped build Uber," said IDG founder Jim Conigliaro Jr. in a statement emailed to Mic. "We are heartened that Uber has listened to the drivers and the community on this important issue that is so integral to the promise of the American dream."
Here is Kalanick's full memo:
Earlier today I spoke briefly with the President about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community. I also let him know that I would not be able to participate on his economic council. Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the President or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that.
I spent a lot of time thinking about this and mapping it to our values. There are a couple that are particularly relevant:
Inside Out - The implicit assumption that Uber (or I) was somehow endorsing the Administration's agenda has created a perception-reality gap between who people think we are, and who we actually are.
Just Change - We must believe that the actions we take ultimately move the ball forward. There are many ways we will continue to advocate for just change on immigration but staying on the council was going to get in the way of that. The executive order is hurting many people in communities all across America. Families are being separated, people are stranded overseas and there's a growing fear the U.S. is no longer a place that welcomes immigrants.
Immigration and openness to refugees is an important part of our country's success and quite honestly to Uber's. I am incredibly proud to work directly with people like Thuan and Emil, both of whom were refugees who came here to build a better life for themselves. I know it has been a tough week for many of you and your families, as well as many thousands of drivers whose stories are heartfelt and heart-wrenching.
Please know, your questions and stories on Tuesday, along with what I heard from drivers, have kept me resilient and reminded me of one of our most essential cultural values, Be Yourself. We will fight for the rights of immigrants in our communities so that each of us can be who we are with optimism and hope for the future.
Feb. 2, 2017, 5:10 p.m.: This story has been updated.