Will the Uber saga go Hollywood?
Susan Fowler, the whistleblower whose blog post about sexual harassment and the culture at one of the world’s most valuable startups helped bring about the downfall of CEO Travis Kalanick, is reportedly offering up rights to her story.
It’s being marketed as “Erin Brockovich” meets “The Social Network,” Deadline reports. The project, which has a working title of “Disruptors,” has been sent to studios and supposedly is being written by Allison Schroeder, screenwriter of “Hidden Figures.”
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Fowler, a former engineer at the San Francisco-based ride-hailing startup, published a blog post in February in which she said she was sexually harassed by a manager and that she was threatened when she reported the behavior to HR.
The reaction to that blog post, plus a New York Times report shortly thereafter that painted a picture of a workplace that included managers who groped employees and a high-pressure, aggressive culture, set off a firestorm on social media and at the company. Subsequent reports included accusations of sexism, racism and bullying.
Revelations about business-related tactics such as software that evaded law enforcement, plus a high-profile lawsuit by Alphabet’s Waymo accusing Uber of stealing self-driving technology secrets, didn’t help matters.
As if all that wasn’t silver screen-worthy enough, another made-for-the-big-screen moment might be a leaked 2013 email from Kalanick that surfaced this year. In it, he told Uber employees on a trip: “Do not have sex with another employee UNLESS…” and went on to list a couple of instances in which it would be acceptable.
Kalanick resigned as chief executive in June but remains on the company’s board of directors.
This report about sexual harassment in tech possibly getting the Hollywood treatment comes as Hollywood itself is dealing with a huge scandal involving Harvey Weinstein, a movie mogul who has been accused of sexual harassment and rape.
Photo: A sign outside Uber headquarters in San Francisco. (Eric Risberg/AP)
Tags: Hollywood, movie, Susan Fowler, Travis Kalanick, Uber