I have been the subject of about 8,546,789 Internet mobs in my career. (Approximate count) During most of them I chose to keep my head down and not comment and let it blow over. I was lucky enough to learn young that these things always blow over and are rarely as big of a deal as they seem at the time.
But when Uber threatened to go after my family, it was a different matter because it involved my kids and a deeply unethical company that I knew would stop at nothing unless it cost them money. So I made a rare decision to go “full cottontail” as I phrased it in my book.
The phrase is a reference to this YouTube video where a Mama rabbit goes apesh*t on a snake that goes after her babies. He actually gets one of them, if memory serves, but she has to gut him so he won’t come back after the rest.
My equivalent was spending two days doing every single media interview that came my way. I was on the cover of newspapers nationwide, on every national news channel you can imagine. It put a much bigger spotlight on my family and momentarily put us at more risk. (A lot comes with being declared public enemy #1 of a $60 billion bro-tastic company…) But I needed it to be clear to this company, their investors, and anyone else that the price for going after my family was that everyone in the world would hear about it and it would forever haunt their Google alerts. It was the only way I could be sure they wouldn’t try this again once the initial hubbub died down. I needed them to feel that going after me just wasn’t worth the hassle on the off-chance they got caught. Again.
There were a lot of benefits beyond achieving that. When someone like Susan Fowler came forward, or the many, many other sources for Uber scandals, my story was frequently cited as a reason that journalists and investors gave the accusers the benefit of the doubt. Chipping away at Travis Kalanick’s credibility scandal after scandal was how he finally got ousted.
This week I got another reminder: It turns out that Emil Michael—the architect of the scheme against me—was momentarily considered for Secretary of Transportation under the Trump Administration. One of the biggest knocks against the idea, according to documents obtained by Axios? Going after me. (Or “journalists” as most reporters describe it, even though I was the only person named…)
You don’t always get justice when you come forward to expose wrongdoing. Sometimes you do get justice and it just takes a while.
Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:
- Is it OK to wear political t-shirts/buttons to the office?
- I need suggestions for my divorce play list.