An Uber ad offered free rides to “white” guests

White nights.
White nights.
Image: Reuters/Jamal Saidi
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Even as Uber conquers the world’s cities, it also seems to wrong-foot itself at almost every opportunity. Its latest fumble was in Beirut, where the car-on-demand service launched a promotion targeting the partygoers of the Lebanese capital, where it has operated since July 2014.

It did so through a partnership with Doha- and Beirut-based upscale club White. (Warning: Clicking on the site will automatically play loud club music that is difficult to stop.)

The company offered free rides to (or from) the club venue for its customers—which it says was to encourage people to party responsibly instead of driving drunk. However, to announce the promotion, the company (and the club) chose a rather unfortunate wording:

Uber is offering a free ride to all white guests.

Unsurprisingly, the wording attracted a strong reaction from Beirut’s residents.

The company has now removed ”white” from the promotional poster as well as its tweets and posts, and issued an apology on its blog:

But the code for the promotion appears to still be UBERWHITE15: