A New York City Uber driver had a brush with social media infamy two weeks ago after he filmed an unhinged female passenger threatening to falsely accuse him of rape and domestic abuse.
The driver remains remarkably cool given the circumstances (until the woman finally leaves, at which point he repeatedly calls her a “bitch”). “This is what Uber drivers go through every fucking day, man,” he says into the camera. “People disrespect us, talk shit to us, like we’re nothing, man.”
The video quickly made its way through the internet outrage cycle, culminating with Uber releasing a statement saying it had banned the woman from ever using its service, and the driver posting a follow-up video thanking the good people of the internet for their support and urging other Uber drivers to invest in a dashcam (not a bad idea, actually).
The video is a leading example of a small but significant subgenre of YouTube videos in which male drivers record their rude or threatening female passengers. Their existence skews the perception of who’s really in danger when men and women share a late-night car ride.
The video of the New York rider came just two weeks after a different Uber YouTube video went viral. In that one, a rude female passenger screams at her driver, then refuses to leave his car after he cancels her trip.
The comments section devolved into a shouting match about gender politics, with socially conservative men citing it as evidence that feminism has given women carte blanche to treat men poorly.
Indeed, a member of MGTOW — short for “men going their own way,” a loose-knit cohort of men who have sworn off trying to have relationships with women—posted his own version of the exchange, using it as evidence for his narrative that there’s no use trying to reason with women, and men are better off abandoning them.
There’s also this video from August 2016 of a woman harassing her male Lyft driver for having a hula dancer toy on his dashboard. She says it’s disrespectful to native Hawaiians, threatens to report him to Gawker and curses him out before he pulls over and demands she leave his car.
The driver was originally fired over the incident, only to be reinstated once the video surfaced and it was revealed that his female passenger was the aggressor in the situation. The woman in question turned out to be porn entrepreneur Annaliese Nielsen, who was labeled a “crazy SJW feminist” and subjected to waves of trolling after the video went viral on Reddit.
Also from last year is this video of a noticeably drunk Miami woman taking swings at her male Uber driver and then trashing his car:
An Uber driver posted this short, shaky video last October of his passenger reporting him to the police for not taking her to his destination, and the police explaining to her that no, that isn’t a crime:
Similarly, this video captures a woman cursing out a male Uber driver after he politely tells her that he isn’t her Uber driver:
And then there’s a hilarious video of a man losing his shit and screaming “Get! Out! Of! My! God! Damn! Car!” when his female passenger refuses to leave his vehicle:
Hilarious bursts of anger aside, the videos, when taken as a collective, create a troubling impression about which gender is at risk in a rideshare interaction when the parties are of the opposite sex, and they’ve been weaponized online by anti-feminists.
It’s an unfortunate, well-documented truth that ridesharing is dangerous for women, both as drivers and passengers, because it can put them in the same car as predatory, often drunk men. Just last month, an Uber driver in Virginia was accused of abducting and raping a female passenger, and that was just one of more than 200 reported incidents of sexual assault.
But anti-feminists have seized on videos of rude female passengers as proof that men are subject to Uber-related harassment from the opposite sex, too. Their argument: Ridesharing is dangerous for men, because it forces them to interact with hysterical, unbelievably rude women who can’t be reasoned with, and who may make life-ruining accusations about them.
The description to the video of the woman making rape accusations says, “We live in an age where a man can’t be alone with a woman without having a camera on.” The comments sections of these videos often echo that message, with men decrying an over-feminized culture that demonizes them just for being men.
The actions of a few especially rude drunk women should not a cultural narrative make, but in this polarized time, any event can be construed as indicative of a larger movement.
The most recent rideshare driver video to make the viral rounds comes from Tro’Juan Henderson, a Lyft driver who recorded the following video last week about protecting the safety of drunk female passengers:
Henderson’s rationale for not picking up drunk women is shaky at best (and dangerous at worst), but he was widely applauded acknowledging that it can be dangerous it is for women to ride alone in a strange man’s vehicle (and not so much the other way around).