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TLC Suspends License Of Uber Driver Who Kicked Out Lesbians For Kissing In His Car

Photograph of an Uber driver in 2017
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Photograph of an Uber driver in 2017 AP/REX/Shutterstock

After he forced a lesbian couple out of his car in Manhattan on Saturday because he was uncomfortable with their kissing, Uber driver Ahmed Elbotari has had his license suspended by the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commisision—and lost his access to the Uber app. A TLC spokesman said, "It’s 2018 in New York City, and this isn’t the way we live anymore."

Elbotari was driving customers Alex Iovine and Emma Pichl from Gowanus to the East Village when, after crossing the Manhattan Bridge, he kicked the women out. Iovine says that she had quickly kissed—"pecked"—Pichl, which upset Elbotari. She then filmed Elbotari telling them, "It's illegal," "It's disrespectful," and "You're not allowed to do this." According to the video, women argued that it's not illegal and also threatened to get him fired.

Both the couple and Elbotari reported the incident to Uber.

TLC spokesman Allan Fromberg said, "This blatantly discriminatory behavior described by the complainant is repugnant, and will not be tolerated in the City of New York."

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said of Elbotari (and others who act similarly), "I think they don’t belong driving period... This is an open society and Uber is a platform that is available to anybody regardless of your background, your orientation, and that is sacred to us. It’s an unfortunate circumstance and we will do everything we can for that not to repeat."

According to CNN, "the incident has changed [Iovine's and Pichl's] perspective on being in a same-sex couple in New York City. Normally private, they say they now plan to attend the city's June 24 Pride parade, which celebrates the LGBTQ community."

"We kind of keep to ourselves. We don't get out there much and march in the parade," Iovine told the network. "But I think this has inspired us to get our voice out there more and get out there to celebrate everything this community has done, (what) we have to offer as human beings and the rights that we deserve."

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