The CEO of Uber apologized last week after comparing the death of a woman hit by one of the company’s self-driving vehicles to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia. The comments prompted some Twitter users to encourage a boycott of the ride-hailing company.
Dara Khosrowshahi, when asked about the killing of Khashoggi during an interview with Axios on HBO, called it a “serious mistake” by the Saudi government.
“We’ve made mistakes, too, right, with self-driving, and we stopped driving, and we’re recovering from that mistake,” Khosrowshahi said. “So I think that people make mistakes.”
But he backtracked from the comments during his weekly meeting with employees, on Twitter and in a statement to Axios before the interview aired.
“I don’t believe that the Khashoggi murder is something to be forgiven or forgotten, and I was plain wrong to compare it to anything that we have been through,” he said, according to The Washington Post. “That was absolutely wrong.”
Uber stopped testing self-driving vehicles after the March 2018 accident when a Volvo XC90 struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Ariz. Video footage from a camera in the vehicle showed that the safety driver was not paying attention because she was watching a TV show on her phone at the time of the crash.