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Uber booked half the seats for a play inspired by itself

The play, called "Brilliant Jerks," opens in London later this month.

Richard Nieva Former senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Richard Nieva
2 min read

Uber employees will attend a play inspired by the controversies the company faced under former CEO Travis Kalanick.

James Martin/CNET

Last year was a tumultuous ride for Uber, filled with scandals about workplace culture and sexism. Apparently, one way to move on from the past is to watch it dramatized on stage.

The ride-hailing company's London office bought out 50 of the 90 seats available for "Brilliant Jerks," a play opening in that city inspired by the events at Uber. The news was reported earlier by the Financial Times.

The play's title refers to a quote by Uber board member Arianna Huffington, who said the company would no longer tolerate employees -- usually men -- who were gifted but acted inappropriately. The play premieres in mid-March at London's Vault theater. Its plot follows three fictional characters: a driver named Mia, a programmer named Sean and CEO Tyler Janowski, who "tries to figure out where it all went wrong," according to the theater's website.

The controversies at Uber were touched off by a blog post written in February 2017 by former engineer Susan Fowler, who recounted some of the sexism she experienced at the company. The backlash eventually culminated in the departure of Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick in June of that year. He was replaced by former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

Uber said the trip to see the play was organized by its social team, which regularly plans nights out for employees, including table tennis tournaments and visits to the theater.

"After seeing shows like 'Wicked,' 'An American in Paris' and 'Romeo & Juliet' the social team thought it would be fun to see this new production -- especially as the tickets were on a buy one get one free offer!" an Uber spokesman said in a statement.

The play's director, Rosy Banham, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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