Liberal NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio recently called for a regulatory attack on ride-sharing company Uber. This set off actor Ashton Kutcher who criticized the mayor’s proposals on Twitter and Facebook calling this an example of “corrupt shortsighted politics” “destroying innovation.”
In July 2015, de Blasio began blaming Manhattan’s traffic congestion on Uber’s dramatic expansion over the last several years. He proposed several solutions, including capping the number of Uber vehicles allowed to operate within the city, in a July 18 op-ed in The New York Daily News.
But tightly controlled cab industry includes some of de Blasio’s most generous political donors -- a fact that was not lost on Kutcher and others. Uber’s competition has already caused the price of taxi medallions in NYC to fall to $872,000, The New York Times said in October 2014.
“I think this is less about traffic congestion than it is about political contributions,” Senior Vice President of Policy and Strategy at Uber and former Senior Advisor to President Obama David Plouffe told The New York Times.
Ashton Kutcher noted the political connection as well. He blasted de Blasio on social media for four days, starting on July 19.
In a lengthy Facebook Post and twenty-three tweets (and counting), Kutcher condemned the proposed cap as “corrupt shortsighted politics that is destroying innovation” and argued it represented de Blasio’s “personal interests.”
This isn't a conservative or liberal debate it's about politicians representing their personal interests and not their community. #uberNYC— ashton kutcher (@aplusk) July 22, 2015
Kutcher said it isn’t Uber causing congestion, but yellow cabs that comprise 90 percent of rush hour Manhattan trips.
In multiple tweets, Kutcher said the mayor’s solutions would take jobs away from New Yorkers.
Limiting new for-hire vehicle licenses and taking away jobs from New Yorkers is not the answer.— ashton kutcher (@aplusk) July 21, 2015
NYC council member explain to teachers who drive #uber to subsidize their income that they won't have a job cause U took 25k from a taxi co— ashton kutcher (@aplusk) July 22, 2015
Kutcher wasn’t the only actor on Uber’s side. Actress and model Kate Upton also defended Uber on twitter saying, “Why do you want to return to days when only those in Midtown & Lower Manhattan could get a ride? #UberMovesNYC.”
Both actors promoted Uber and the service it provides NYC by competing against taxis. However, left-wing media like Mother Jones, Alternet and others slammed ride-sharing companies like Uber, Lyft and SideCar, calling them “parasitic,” and like “old school capitalist companies.”