As per sources, a few years back the Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and six of his workers attended a seedy “escort-karaoke” nightclub in South Korea, which one senior Uber executive has struggled to keep silent about. Per the news, Kalanick’s ex-girlfriend Gabi Holzwarth had been with Kalanick and the relatively high ranking executives at Uber in mid-2014 while they headed to the dingy Seoul nightclub, wherein miniskirt-clad women “chose to sit in a group, identifiable by numbered badges.” Holzwarth, a 27-year-old classical violinist who divorced Kalanick last summer, claims she and Uber’s CEO departed the nightclub a couple of hours later.
It was after some males in the party chose ladies to “sit with” in private spaces in the basement, according to Holzwarth, who added that she didn’t actually know whatever transpired afterwards. Meanwhile, one of the executives in the group was indeed a female marketing executive, who subsequently informed Uber’s HR boss that the experience made her feel uneasy. The female executive’s identity was kept a secret.
According to the story, Uber’s executive VP of business Emil Michael phoned Holzwarth around three weeks ago, concerned that specifics of the Seoul occurrence would be exposed after Uber employee Susan Fowler came out publicly with sexual harassment charges.
Following the event in Seoul, Holzwarth claimed she caught Kalanick on the telephone with the concerned marketing executive, inquiring, “Are you OK, girl?” and expressing to her he hoped she had come out sooner. As per Holzwarth, Kalanick then disconnected the call and claimed the woman “should have an attorney and expects something.” Per the story, it’s unclear how the HR issue was settled, although the lady claims to still be working at the firm.
Holzwarth alerted Rachel Whetstone, Uber’s head of policymaking and PR, who notified former US Attorney General Eric Holder, who is currently performing an internal inquiry into sex harassment charges at Uber. Kalanick denied the accusations of Michael’s contact to Holzwarth in a short messaging conversation immediately after. A day after, Kalanick sent Holzwarth additional text inquiring about her well-being. Per the investigation, Kalanick claimed he didn’t know why Holzwarth stated, “I can’t speak to you anymore,” and that he was “going through a bad period and it’s very wonderful to speak to someone.”