An American taxi company which had previously supported one of its homophobic drivers, fired him over last weekend.
Portland Taxi Company, which changed its tune for reasons unknown, confirmed that Svodboda, one of its drivers, has been given the sack.
Svodboda was allegedly yelling homophobic words at patrons outside Scandals, a gay bar in Southwest Portland, last Tuesday evening. He allegedly told people outside the bar that they were ‘going to hell’ and also offered to help them get out of a ‘difficult lifestyle’.
He was asked by some bar employees to leave, according to KATU. Bar patron Ty Raia, however, shared that ‘another patron called the (taxi) company to express their concerns that he was doing this while representing the company’ – only to receive a response that ‘they don’t care’.
The company claimed that Svodboda was exercising his First Amendment rights and there should be no disciplinary action.
‘If the gays don’t want to use our company then that’s good for us,’ a representative from the company added.
This, however, isn’t the first incident that the company has faced. In March, one of its driver refused payment from a passenger and told the latter he should be in jail because of his sexual orientation.
The company changed its stance, unexpectedly, over the weekend. Owner Ken Karkhu showed text messages to KATU that he had fired Svodboda. This was further confirmed with subsequent text messages on Saturday night of Svodboda’s suspension.
By Sunday night, it is confirmed that Svodboda had been fired.
Svodboda admitted that he had received complaints from gay passengers about how he had treated them. However, according to Karkhu, none of these complaints were ever relayed to senior management.
Uber, though, has decided to terminate its partnership with the company.