White CEO Fired After Going On Racist Tirade Against A Black Uber Driver In Arizona
Hans Berglund has been fired from his position as head of Agroplasma USA.
A white CEO has been fired from his position at organic fertilizer company Agroplasma USA after he was seen on video calling a Black Uber driver a n****r during an explicative-laden tirade on January 31.
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According to ABC15, Arizona State University student Randy Clarke, who was slated to pick up Hans Berglund in his Uber around 9 p.m., asked the 72-year-old to sit in the back seat. Clarke has a sign in his car stating that the front seat can only be used when there are three or more passengers.
Berglund, who moved to Scottsdale from Sweden, angrily said he wanted to sit in the front seat despite Clarke repeatedly telling him he is not comfortable with passengers sitting next to him. The college student kindly asked the former CEO to sit in the back seat, but Berglund refused, so they agreed to cancel the ride.
Berglund later changed his mind and said he would sit in the back seat but would write a complaint even though Clarke already canceled the ride. After Clarke asked Berglund to leave the car, a video showed him asking whether he is being denied because he's white. He then screams the N-word at Clarke.
"Are you f**king serious with me?" Berglund said in the video. "Is it because I'm white? And you're a f***king n****r? You are a f**king idiot."
“I was in a state of shock, I almost wanted to laugh. Some people need to be educated about people who don’t look like them. But in this case, the fact that he blatantly said the N-word, I just couldn’t let that go,” Clarke told 12 News during an interview on Monday.
As the story gained steam on social media, Agroplasma, Berglund and Uber were forced to release statements about what happened.
Agroplasma released a statement to ABC15 on Wednesday, saying the company was firing Berglund as CEO.
"In light of the events of this past Friday, Agroplasma CEO Hans Berglund has been relieved of his duties while the company performs a full internal investigation. The incident is not at all reflective of Agroplasma’s values and ethics. Our relationships with our employees, customers and the community are the cornerstones of our success, and we are doing everything in our power to rebuild their trust and repair the harm that has resulted from this incident," the statement read, adding that Jeffrey Ziehmer was being appointed as interim CEO.
Berglund released an initial apology to NBC12 News but expanded when the gravity of the situation began to hit. He said there was "no excuse for the use of racial slurs under any circumstance, so I will not offer any."
"It is my sincere hope that Mr. Clarke hears and accepts my apology and believes me when I say it is honest and heartfelt," he added.
The 25-year-old has spent four years driving for Uber and has a near-perfect rating on the app. He said he's had other bad situations in his car and that Uber needs to do more to protect drivers from physical and racial violence.
“I feel that Uber could do more to prevent these types of situations by implementing features that help us drivers deal with these situations better,” Clarke told NBC12.
Uber said they launched an investigation into the incident and it was a clear violation of the company's community guidelines.
"Discrimination has no place on the Uber app or anywhere," the ride-sharing app said in a statement.