Uber is in hot water with the media again, and it could be a tipping point of sorts for the company.
The ride-sharing app's latest PR gaffe stems from comments made on Friday by Emil Michael, Uber's vice president of business.
According to a BuzzFeed report, during a dinner attended by Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and journalists from various media outlets Michael made statements suggesting Uber should hire its own team of journalists to dig up dirt on reporters. His comments were specifically aimed at one reporter, Sarah Lacy, the editor of the tech website PandoDaily, who has been critical of the company.
Michael apologized for his statements on Monday and said he believed the conversation was off the record.
Uber's aggressive business behavior has earned itself both fans and critics, and some in the industry wonder whether the company will need to do more to ensure the public that it's an ethical company.
"There are things that are said that are emotionally charged of which an apology can only accommodate so much. In this case it could also be interpreted as a vocalization of Uber's culture and management style and for it to be voiced in front of [CEO Travis Kalanick] communicates this is a way of business for the company," said Brian Solis, an analyst at Altimeter Group, a San Mateo, California-based firm that researches the impact of new technologies.