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Uber bans a user named ‘Swastika’ Chandra, apologises later. What happened?

Published:

Apr 21, 2024 01:46 PM IST

In October last year, Chandra encountered this situation when she tried to order food through Uber Eats

A woman named ‘Swastika’ Chandra from Australia faced a ban from Uber ride-sharing and food delivery services, considering her first name was in “violation” of the company’s terms, New York Post reported. She was asked to change it on the app to proceed with the services. Five months later, the company apologised, acknowledging that incidents like this are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and reinstated her access to the app.

Five months later, the company apologised, acknowledging that incidents like this are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and reinstated her access to the app. (Representational Image)
Five months later, the company apologised, acknowledging that incidents like this are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and reinstated her access to the app. (Representational Image)

The incident took place in October last year, Chandra encountered the incident when she tried to order food through Uber Eats. At the payment stage, she received a notification stating that her name violated the company’s terms.

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“I was putting in an order for food one afternoon and went to the payment stage and this pop-up came up saying, ‘Your first name is in violation and you need to change your name on the app,’” Chandra told A Current Affair.

She explained in the program that while she understood her name’s association with Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party, she remained proud of it and wouldn’t alter it for anyone. “They don’t know that the Hindus used it for thousands of years before Hitler used it in the wrong way,” she said.

Australian woman, Swastika Chandra clarified that her first name signifies “good luck” in Sanskrit and was frequently used as a name in Fiji, where she spent her childhood.

In 1920, Adolf Hitler adopted the ‘Swastika’ as a symbol for Germany and incorporated it into the flag of the National Socialist Party, or Nazi Party, which gained prominence in Germany in the subsequent decade.

Uber’s response

After five months, Uber finally granted an exemption to Chandra to rejoin the platform, following intervention from The Hindu Council and support from the New South Wales Attorney-General.

The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies also supported Chandra. Uber issued an apology to Chandra, acknowledging that their review process took longer than anticipated, in a statement to news.com.au.

“Uber is committed to facilitating a safe and welcoming environment for all users,” the company said. “For that reason, Uber has a global policy of restricting access to users whose names entered into the Uber app contain potentially offensive words.”

“We understand that there are different cultural nuances to names, and therefore our teams address incidents like this on a case-by-case basis to ensure we evaluate each account fairly.

“In this case, after reviewing MS. Chandra’s request, we reinstated her access to the app.

“We have apologized to Ms Chandra for the inconvenience this caused her, and we appreciate her patience as we reviewed the matter, which took longer than we hoped it would.”

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