Sunday, August 12, is the one year anniversary of last year’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that ended with one counterprotester and two police officers dead. Organizers behind the ill-fated 2017 event are holding another on the same day this year, because of course they are. Not everyone, however, is going along with the plans.
Uber has now confirmed via the Washingtonian magazine that its drivers are within their rights to refuse service to rally attendees. That right, the company explains, is in line with the mandate for drivers and passengers “to exercise good judgment and behave decently towards other people in the car when riding with Uber.” “Unite the Right” rallygoers could break that standard through means including offensive signage and discussion of their ideals of “protecting white civilization” or whatever.
Uber has actually addressed white nationalist usage of their services in the past. Last year, at about the same time as the August 12 Charlottesville rally, the rideshare service banned white supremacists James Allsup and Tim Gionet — aka Baked Alaska — from their platform. The two of them had made offensive remarks when their African American driver passed the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.
In theory, there could be similar incidents in connection to the far right rally set to be held this Sunday, although only time will tell. Uber reiterated that riders who get kicked out of Uber rides around D.C. could have their access to the service blocked altogether, although the company added that they investigate every individual complaint.
Uber isn’t the first transportation interest to address concerns about the influx of white nationalists to the D.C. area in connection to the upcoming “Unite the Right” rally.
The local chapter of the Amalgamated Transit Union asserted that they would not go along with at one point claimed plans for white nationalist rally attendees to have their own separate cars on public transit trains. The local transit authority eventually asserted that there would be no special cars for rally attendees, and instead said they will simply add trains and restrict access to trains that may be filled to capacity as needed.
Although the shape the Sunday D.C. rally will take is still forming, potential speakers include infamous virulent racist figures David Duke and Patrick Little, the latter of whom is among those who deny the Holocaust ever happened. Little ran in the recent California U.S. Senate primary but lost. Their rally will take place in the Lafayette Park area near the White House late in the afternoon, with an estimated “start time” of 5:30 P.M.
There are four standing, approved permits for counterprotests corresponding to Sunday’s “Unite the Right” event.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is firmly opposed to the “Unite the Right” rally, for her part, asserting recently that only a small fraction of those who visit D.C. each year share the views of the white nationalists who will be in her city this weekend for the “sole purpose of spewing hate.”
Infamously, U.S. President Donald Trump found it very difficult to single out white nationalists for condemnation after the Charlottesville violence last year, so we can safely assume that he’s in the same place ahead of D.C.’s “Unite the Right” event.
Featured Image via YouTube Screenshot