Uber Suspends Driver Accused of Throwing Out Israeli Diplomat for Speaking Hebrew

Itay Milner says Chicago driver shouted at him to get out after he answered a phone call in Hebrew

FILE PHOTO - A photo illustration shows the Uber app logo displayed on a mobile telephone, as it is held up for a posed photograph in central London, Britain August 17, 2016.
Neil Hall/ REUTERS

Uber suspended one of its drivers in Chicago pending an investigation into an Israeli diplomat’s claim that the driver threw him out for speaking in Hebrew.

Itay Milner, deputy consul general of Israel to the Midwest, wrote on Facebook Thursday that he was ten minutes into his ride, which he booked with the ride-sharing application of Uber, when the driver shouted at him to get out on Lower Wacker Drive for answering a telephone call in Hebrew, CBS Chicago reported.

“I just had the worst experience of my life. I was just thrown out of an Uber because I was speaking my mother tongue.” He wrote, “Ten minutes into my ride with no prior interaction between me and the driver, the driver started yelling ‘Get out of my car!’ All because I answered the phone in Hebrew. I am not easily intimidated, but I was scared.”

Milner also wrote the driver confirmed that he was kicking Milner out because Milner was speaking Hebrew. “I never thought something like this could happen in America, such awful racism.”

The driver, identified on his Uber profile as Yuva and driving a 2017 white Toyota Camry, has been working with the company for one year and has a rating of 4.89 out of five.

A spokeswoman for Uber released a statement saying, “Uber does not tolerate any form of discrimination. We are reaching out to the rider to extend our support for the experience he described here. As soon as we were made aware of this, we removed the driver’s access from the app as we look further into this.”