Uber Driver Suffers Abuse From UM Student, Viral Video Shames University

Val Powell

A video showing a student of the University of Michigan hurling insults and foul words at an Uber driver has gone viral.

— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) March 27, 2016

Jake Croman, the student in the video, claims his rant stemmed from the Uber driver's alleged anti-semitic remarks. Croman is Jewish and says the driver, Artur Zawada, refused to pick him and his friends up because of their religion.

The video footage was filmed by Zawada and uploaded it on Youtube on March 23. It earned over 150,000 views on Sunday. The 33-second long viral video shows a group of college students, identified as members of a U of M fraternity, yelling expletives at the driver.

According to BuzzFeed News, Ann Arbor Police Sgt. Aimee Metzer said Zawada had filed a complaint claiming he was verbally abused on March 20 by Uber passengers.

Croman is a student at UM's College of Literature, Science and the Arts, and the University has expressed its disappointment over its students' behavior.

"We find the actions depicted in this video to be reprehensible and completely inconsistent with our community's closely held values," Rick Fitzgerald, UM spokesman said. "We expect more from our students. Regardless of the circumstances, no one deserves to be treated that way. This matter has been reported to Ann Arbor Police. We are awaiting the police report as we consider our next steps."

The Dean of Students reportedly met with both the students and the Uber driver.

UM and Tau Kappa Epsilon, the fraternity he belongs to, are currently investigating the incident. The organization said they are "extremely disappointed by the individual's demeaning words."

"At the conclusion of our swift, thorough investigation, we will handle the situation with appropriate action," a national spokesperson for the fraternity said. "Depending on the details of the investigation, this could include the expulsion of membership."

According to the Uber driver, it was the fourth time he had problems with Croman and company. He said he had previously requested Uber to ban the student, but he kept using his friends' account.

"Told him and his friends that I will not take them and that he/they need to get out of my car....." Zawada wrote in the comment section under the video. "For that I was falsely accused, called names etc. 4th time... Rider knew from Uber application who is the driver. He had option to cancel to avoid any issues but he/they proceeded to abuse, harass, belittle and provoke like kindergarten thugs."

In a statement released through a spokesperson, Croman said the video "shows one side of the argument" he had with Zawada and accused the Uber driver of provoking him and his friends with his "offensive anti-semitic remarks." He admits he is not proud of his reaction and regrets his choice of words. He stated that he already filed a complaint with the Ann Arbor police department.

Speaking to The Tab, the Uber driver denied that he discriminated against Croman based on his religion.

Uber reportedly told Buzzfeed that it is investigating the verbal altercation. "Any type of aggression or harassment is simply unacceptable and violates Uber's code of conduct for riders and drivers. We are looking into all the details as we investigate this incident and are in touch with everyone involved."

Both Zawada and Croman reportedly have had their access to the app suspended while the case is being investigated.

[Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez, Getty Images]