A homophobic Uber driver is under fire for kicking a lesbian couple out of his car for kissing in the backseat.
26-year-old Alex Iovine, an advertising technology consultant, and her 24-year-old girlfriend, Emma Pichl, a senior recruiter, hailed down the livery Uber to go from a birthday party at the bar Pig Beach, in Brooklyn, to another birthday party in the East Village about 5 p.m.
“We were sitting on opposite sides of the car,” she said. “We leaned in for a peck, and that’s what it was, a legit peck.”
The couple’s PDA was too much for 35-year-old Ahmed Elbotari, who pulled the car over on Canal St. as it reached the other side of the Manhattan Bridge.
“He said, ‘Get out of my car,’” Iovine said. “My girlfriend started laughing. She thought he was joking.”
She said she’s aware of Uber’s code of conduct, but said they did nothing more than a quick peck on the lips.
“He yelled at us for being disrespectful and inappropriate because we pecked on the lips,” Iovine said.
Elbotari can be seen on a cell phone recording, which Iovine posted to YouTube, opening the back door of the car after pulling over at Canal St. to force the women to leave.
“It’s illegal,” the driver said after Iovine asks him why he’s putting them out. “You can’t do this in the car. You aren’t allowed to do this.”
The women, who live in Union Square, press him for a better explanation for cutting the ride short.
“Why are we not allowed to kiss in an Uber?” Iovine asks. “It’s disrespectful,” the livery driver says in the video.
The couple got upset and threatened to call the police.
“Nothing is illegal,” one of the women says. “It’s not illegal to kiss in New York.”
The driver has been licensed since September 2014 and says only one side of the story has been told.
“I don’t give a s–t about them. I did what I believe is my freedom,” he said.
Elbotari says the couple was acting rudely in his car with one forcing the other to smell her armpit while also playing loud videos on their phones. He says one girl her feet on his seat, and then they kissed.
“It’s my own car. I didn’t feel comfortable with them,” Elbotari said.
Elbotari said he would have done the same to a straight couple, but admitted that he has less tolerance for same-sex couples. Iovine denied the couple acted inappropriately in his car.
“We would never disrespect someone else’s car in such manner and we always handle ourselves appropriately in public,” Iovine said.
Uber refunded Iovine the $22 fare and apologized to her for the inconvenience.
“Uber does not tolerate any form of discrimination, and we have reached out to the rider regarding her experience,” Uber spokeswoman Susan Hendrick said. “We are investigating and will take appropriate action.”
The couple said the experience opened their eyes to how real homophobia can be.
“Obviously, he’s homophobic,” Iovine said. “I was very surprised. I haven’t experienced homophobic behavior in the city. We live in this bubble and think this can’t happen here in New York City. This goes to show that it can happen anywhere.”
Iovine also touched on how hurtful the incident was after it happened during Pride month.
“It was a really terrible experience — and ironically occurred on a bright sunny day during pride month in New York City,” Iovine said.
Press Play above for the video and take a look at the couple below.