The Uber driver who allegedly told a lesbian couple to get out of his car after they shared a ‘peck’ has been recommended for reinstatement following a trial.
A video of Ahmad El Boutari demanding that Emma Pichl and Alex Iovine get out of his car for being ‘disrespectful’ went viral last month.
The couple had claimed that after they shared a brief kiss, the driver pulled over the car and told them to leave his vehicle.
Ahmed El Boutari told them what they did was ‘illegal’ and that they ‘aren’t allowed to do this’.
Iovine then shared a video of the alleged incident on her Facebook page.
However, according to the New York Post, Administrative law judge Joycelyn McGeachy-Kuls found there wasn’t enough evidence to support those claims. She wrote:
[The Taxi and Limousine Commission, TLC] has provided no evidence that this refusal of continued service was based on the sexual orientation of these passengers.
[El Boutari] credibly testified that he asked the complainants to get out of his car because their conduct violated Uber’s policy prohibiting sexual contact between passengers.
It seems unlikely that [El Boutari] would notice a brief ‘peck kiss’ through his rear view mirror as he was driving in New York City. It seems unlikely that this ‘peck kiss’ alone would cause him to ask the passengers to get out of his car.
It is also unlikely that [El Boutari] would give up a fare and potentially risk receiving a bad Uber rating for something as mild as a ‘peck kiss'.
Additionally, the judge said El Boutari had filed a complaint with Uber hours after the incident and used the same arguments, whereas the women gave conflicting accounts to Uber, the TLC and at the hearing.
According to the NY Post, Iovine testified that El Boutari had been shouting, and then later said they were speaking at the same volume. Then she said she might have told the TLC that the driver grabbed her girlfriend’s arm, and said at the hearing that this wasn’t the case.
The TLC will make the ultimate decision regarding the subject of suspension, and revoking his licence permanently.