Close
Date TimeJune 12, 2018
VoiceTwo women say an Uber driver kicked them out of his car after he saw them kiss in the back seat. The driver's taxi license, required to drive for Uber in New York City, has been suspended as the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission investigates what happened.
Two women get kicked out of Uber after kiss
Alex Iovine, 26, and Emma Pichl, 24, live together in Manhattan and have been dating for nearly two years. The couple was heading back to Manhattan on Saturday after celebrating a friend's birthday at a Brooklyn bar. Iovine says she and her girlfriend were sitting on opposite sides of the back seat when they kissed.
"The middle seat was open. We were just having a conversation throughout the ride and, at one point, we leaned over into the middle and peck-kissed," Iovine told CNN. "That's genuinely all it was."
Uber lists community guidelines on its website, which specify that "you shouldn't touch or flirt with other people in the car," and that there's "no sexual conduct with drivers or fellow riders, no matter what."
But both Iovine and Pichl say they kissed once, and were not touching inappropriately.
"We understand that someone would feel uncomfortable if people were making out in the car," Iovine says. "But that's not what was going on here."
The two women tell CNN that, several minutes after their peck, the driver pulled over onto the side of a Manhattan road, away from their destination, walked over to the rear passenger side door and opened it, telling them to get out.
In video posted to Iovine's Facebook page, you hear the women asking the driver, "What's the issue?"
The driver says: "It's illegal. You don't do that."
One of the women responds: "Kissing is not illegal."
The driver says: "Yeah, it is illegal. You don't do that here in the car." He later added, "It's disrespectful."
The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission identified the driver as Ahmad el Boutari. According to a screenshot of his profile, provided to CNN by Pichl, he had a 4.67 rating and received dozens of commendations on the app for "excellent service." Multiple attempts by CNN to reach el Boutari were unsuccessful.
A spokesman for New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission says el Boutari has been licensed since 2014, and that his license has been suspended after this incident, pending the outcome of the TLC's investigation.
El Boutari told the New York Daily News that he was uncomfortable with the couple's behavior in his car on the whole, not just with the kiss. He said they played loud videos on their phones and that one of the women put her feet up on the seats.
"It's my own car. I didn't feel comfortable with them," he told the newspaper, adding that he asked the couple to stop kissing.
Iovine told the Daily News they didn't behave inappropriately. "We would never disrespect someone else's car in such manner and we always handle ourselves appropriately in public," Iovine said. CNN reached out to the couple about el Boutari's claims.
Both the driver and the riders reported the incident to Uber. The women told CNN Uber refunded their $15 fare.
NYC's TLC, which governs taxis and other "for hire" cars, became aware of the incident after the New York Daily News Story, which included the video the women recorded. TLC spokesman Allan Fromberg says "we reached out to them (the women) immediately and commenced an investigation."
"This blatantly discriminatory behavior described by the complainant is repugnant, and will not be tolerated in the City of New York," Fromberg said.
Uber spokeswoman Susan Hendrick told CNN that the company has removed the driver's access to the app and that it is investigating the incident.
"Uber does not tolerate any form of discrimination, and we have been in touch with the rider regarding her experience," Hendrick said.
Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told the NY Post that he believes drivers like the one seen in the video "don't belong on Uber."
"This is an open society and Uber is a platform that is available to anybody regardless of your background, your orientation, and that is sacred to us," Khosrowshahi told the NY Post. "It's an unfortunate circumstance and we will do everything we can for that not to repeat."
Meanwhile, Iovine and Pichl say the incident has changed their perspective on being in a same-sex couple in New York City. Normally private, they say they now plan to attend the city's June 24 Pride parade, which celebrates the LGBTQ community.
"We kind of keep to ourselves. We don't get out there much and march in the parade," Iovine says. "But I think this has inspired us to get our voice out there more and get out there to celebrate everything this community has done, (what) we have to offer as human beings and the rights that we deserve."

Elon Musk, in Search of Profit, Cuts Tesla's Work Force
Late-Night Sounds Off on Trump's Historic Meeting With Kim Jong-un
Angelina Jolie required to give Brad Pitt more access to their kids
ZTE stock plummets 40% after US ban
AT&T bid for CNN's parent company approved
The Switch is getting some cool local multiplayer indie games
Armed man takes hostages in Paris
Iran says it can't remain in nuclear deal without benefits
Hilary Duff Looks Back at Past Fashion Choices on 'The Late Late Show'
The two really important people at the summit (beside Trump and Kim)
US to suspend military exercises with South Korea, Trump says
Obama's shock presidential intervention: Barack has eyes on 2020 race
11 dead as boats collide in Russian city hosting World Cup
Trump Played Kim Jong Un This Crazily Intense Video at Meeting
Ariana Grande & Pete Davidson's Relationship 'Moving a Million Miles a Minute'
New Look slashes prices amid sharp fall in annual sales
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner made over $82m outside White House roles
WATCH: Peculiar moment Trump shows off his $1.6million BEAST to Kim Jong-un at summit
Trump pledges security guarantees to NKorea after summit
The Latest: Pompeo updates Japan, South Korea after summit
Jimmy Kimmel Teases 'Blobfish Basketball Classic' Charity Game Against Ted Cruz
Trevor Noah Reveals The Real Reason Jon Stewart Left ‘The Daily Show’
READ: Full text of Trump-Kim signed statement
PICTURE SPECIAL: How Trump met Kim
Dennis Rodman gets emotional discussing Trump and Kim
Millicent Fawcett: Who was the tireless suffragist and how did she change women's voting rights forever?
Square Enix's E3 showcase was a bust
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman arrives in Singapore ahead of Trump-Kim summit
A sexy walk is as important to a woman's attractiveness as her body shape, British study claims
Theresa May says G7 summit with Donald Trump was 'difficult'
Peace talks between Russia, Ukraine get underway in Berlin
Kim Jong Un's sister arrives in Singapore in separate plane from North Korean leader
Could humans live on Mars? 'Absolutely,' a NASA expert says
Jane Fonda to Receive Career Honor at Lyon's Lumiere Festival
Spain offers to take migrant ship after Italy's populists turn it away
IHOP becomes IHOb, with 'b' for burgers
Chloe Ayling kidnapper sentenced to 16 years in prison
Kendall Jenner makes Trump joke during 'Celebrity Family Feud'
Airman with top-secret clearance, who disappeared in 1983, is discovered living in California
Top attractions in Moscow: The best things to do in Russia's capital
Trump told Macron EU worse than China on trade
Jackson Odell (of 'The Goldbergs') dies at 20; coroner investigating
Opera Omaha is making a name for itself with festivals, productions
North Korea hails 'new era' of relations with US ahead of Trump-Kim summit
Microsoft's E3 2018 conference shows that Xbox is (sort of) back
Here Are The 2018 Tony Award Winners
Nadal wins 11th French Open title by beating Thiem in 3 sets
Vince Vaughn arrested in California on DUI, resisting arrest charges
The end of net neutrality has arrived
Women march across UK to celebrate 100 years of female suffrage
Trump arrives in Singapore ahead of historic North Korea summit
Trump's top economic aide on Trudeau: 'It was a betrayal'
Arron Banks ‘met with Russian officials multiple times before Brexit vote’
Donald Trump REFUSES to sign G7 agreement before BLASTING Theresa May and Justin Trudeau
Stephen Colbert Hits Back at 'Hateful Dweebs' Who Harassed 'Star Wars' Actress
Kim Jong Un arrives in Singapore for historic summit
Canadian GP: Vettel beats Bottas, Verstappen to pole
Sea of Solitude's haunting trailer is about humans who turn into monsters
'We are ready' Putin warns Russia is prepared for meeting with Trump in AUSTRIA
Tommy Robinson march: Five police officers injured as London rally spirals out of control
Holocaust survivor Gena Turgel, consoler of Anne Frank, dies
German Chancellor Merkel's stare down photo sums up Trump's time at G-7
Trump calls for elimination of tariffs, end to US being world's 'piggy bank'
Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un’s rocky road to Singapore – video explainer
Merkel proposes trade dispute body as G7 summit begins
Meghan Markle attends annual Trooping the Colour parade, makes Buckingham Palace balcony debut
Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain: How the press can cover suicide without creating a 'contagion'
200,000 trillion calculations per second: U.S. launches the world’s most powerful supercomputer
Kevin Durant wins Finals MVP for second consecutive year
Jimmy Kimmel, Ryan Gosling Travel to Space to Celebrate 'First Man' Trailer Release
MSNBC Host Asks If Silent Ivanka And Melania Trump ‘Dead Inside’
Trump could handle Brexit better than May, Boris hints
Actress Emma Thompson made a dame in Queen's birthday honors list
Plane's emergency highway landing
Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer announces he has cancer, weeks left to live
China stole sensitive U.S. navy data on submarine warfare, officials say
Ex-Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, Russian associate hit with obstruction charges
Michelle Wolf Defends Monica Lewinsky, Slams Media for 'High Horse' Coverage of Recent Clinton Comment
Hilary Duff shares pregnancy news
David Beckham endorses North America World Cup bid
The Washington Capitals, After Years of Frustration, Win the Stanley Cup
Soyuz capsule with 3 astronauts docks with space station
Trump says Russia should be reinstated in group of leading industrialized nations
CNN's Anthony Bourdain dead at 61
Stormy Daniels releases new perfume called Truth
Pippa Middleton confirms pregnancy and reveals she escaped morning sickness unlike her sister Kate
Trump to leave G-7 summit early amid feud with world leaders, calls Trudeau 'so indignant'
Stephen Colbert’s Latest Trump Joke May Have Been Censored By CBS
Kim Kardashian shares the joy of how she called Alice Johnson in prison to tell her she would be freed
Jack Ma's online payments giant just raised $14 billion
Liverpool set to complete £53m signing of Nabil Fekir from Lyon
Trump says outcome of summit with Kim Jong Un depends on ‘attitude,’ less on preparation
MIT scientists created an AI-powered 'psychopath' named Norman
Lady Gaga steps into the spotlight in the 'A Star is Born' trailer
NASA's Curiosity rover finds organic matter on Mars
Car RAMS into US Embassy in Seoul 'driven by North Korean defector screaming 'help me!''
Britain now the enemy? Brussels boots out UK military – 'UK no place in defence of Europe'
No, Mr. Trump, Canada did not burn down the White House in the War of 1812
‘You Did It’: Alice Johnson Thanks Kim Kardashian For Never Giving Up On Her
Time Magazine’s Latest Cover Features Trump As ‘King Me’
Kate Spade's husband says she battled demons but death was complete shock
Giuliani defends comments about Stormy Daniels' credibility
Virginia Apgar: Who is the Dr who saved millions of babies and who Google is celebrating?
UK Supreme Court criticizes Northern Ireland abortion laws
David Davis urged not to resign over Brexit backstop
Peter Stringfellow's life in pictures: Nightclub tycoon who was a magnet for celebrities
Jimmy Kimmel Finds First Lady To Be A Little Stiff
Colbert Has A Hilariously Awful List Of People Trump Could Pardon Next
Trevor Noah: What If Facebook Was A Physical Place?
Samantha Bee Apologizes On-Air For Calling Ivanka Trump An Epithet
Australian news crew mugged while filming on London street
EU to hit US with $3.3B in retaliatory tariffs in July
Amid rumors, Melania Trump makes first public appearance in nearly a month
GOP Senate report says Obama officials gave Iran access to US financial system
About 100 firefighters tackle blaze at London hotel
Trump commutes woman's life sentence after Kim Kardashian West's plea
Voters oust California judge in Brock Turner sexual assault case
Kellyanne Conway comes unglued on CNN host, and says calling out Trump’s lies hurts his ratings
Cambridge Analytica director 'met Assange to discuss US election'
Anger in Israel after Argentina cancels soccer match
All eyes on Canada as first G7 nation prepares to make marijuana legal
Australia remains preferred destination for millionaire migrants
Social media in MELTDOWN as video emerges of police chasing 'STOLEN TANK' in Virginia, US
Facebook confirms data sharing with Chinese companies
Elon Musk appears emotional as he overcomes vote to remove him as Tesla chairman
Shawn Mendes Indulges Harry Potter Obsession, Sings Hits on 'Carpool Karaoke'
Bill Clinton Responds to Monica Lewinsky Comment Controversy: 'I Was Mad at Me'
Ariana Grande: I had PTSD following Manchester attack
US government to use facial recognition technology at Mexico border crossing
Macron uses laws and sausages to deflect Trump call question
Putin says he speaks regularly to Trump, isn't trying to divide Europe
Trump to NFL: 'No escaping to locker rooms'
Novak Djokovic OUT of French Open after quarter-final defeat to Marco Cecchinato
Designer Kate Spade, 55, found dead in New York
First ‘Bumblebee’ Trailer Is Heavy on Feels, Light on ‘Transformers’ Action
Serena Williams Withdraws From French Open With A Fierce Message
Guatemala volcano: at least 62 killed and 300 injured after Fuego erupts
Miss America is scrapping the swimsuit portion from its pageant
Sex robots won’t solve loneliness nor curb violence against women, doctors say
NASA to make MAJOR announcement on Thursday about LIFE on Mars
Braless Kim Kardashian West gets cheeky in CFDA Awards speech: 'I'm naked most of the time'
Late-Night Hosts Take Jabs at Trump's Self-Pardon Tweet
French man to cross Great Pacific Garbage Patch on 6-month swim
Apple's new 'digital wellbeing' tools aim to help reduce screen time
Edward Snowden: 'The people are still powerless, but now they're aware'
Trump's phone call with Macron described as 'terrible'
Google honors legendary marathoner Tom Longboat
Vladimir Putin invites North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to Russia – how will Trump react?
Steph Curry's historic NBA Finals Game 2 a window to Warriors before Kevin Durant
Bill Clinton says he doesn't owe Monica Lewinsky an apology
North Korea shakes up military leadership
Scott Disick and Sofia Richie split
The Queen's EXTRAORDINARY wedding gift to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle REVEALED
Melania Trump to skip G7, North Korea summits
Jimmy Fallon Surprises Students at Parkland High School Graduation
500 quakes in 24 hours at Hawaii volcano
Massive NATO exercise starts in Poland and the Baltics
At least 7 dead, international airport closed, 1.7 million could be affected by Guatemala volcano
Fans worried about Johnny Depp's health after new photos appear online
Trump lawyer Giuliani says president can probably pardon himself
Berlin Cathedral ON LOCKDOWN - 'rampaging' knifeman shot by armed police in city centre
United States of Europe moves CLOSER as Angela Merkel backs Emmanuel Macron EU reforms
Suspect arrested after gunfire heard near San Diego marathon; police say no ongoing threat
Kim says he'll meet Assad in North Korea
Thousands of breast cancer patients could avoid chemo, study finds
Iraq sentences French woman to life for joining IS
Russian space capsule with 3 crew lands in Kazakhstan
FBI agent accidentally fires gun while dancing at a Denver nightclub
Saudi 'temporarily' frees activists who want women to be able to drive
Trump lawyers to Mueller: Trump cannot be forced to testify
Israel intercepts MISSILES fired from Gaza Strip and responds with AIRSTRIKES
A fan paid $3 million for a lunch with Warren Buffett—but you can get his best advice for free
WaPo: US determining who will pay for North Korea leader's hotel room
Nigeria World Cup football shirts capture public imagination
Replace May with Gove to sort out Brexit, Tory donor urges
Angela Merkel refuses Italy debt write-off amid fears government could DESTROY eurozone
Peckham shooting: Man 'shot in face' as London violence continues to rage
U.S. In Early Talks To Arrange Trump, Putin Summit: Report
Serena Williams to face Maria Sharapova at French Open
President Trump misses LGBTQ Pride Month again
Pedro Sánchez sworn in as Spain’s prime minister after no-confidence vote
Katy Perry accidentally posts private Orlando Bloom comment on his public Instagram page
Cellphone surveillance detected near the White House, DHS says
Visa apologises after system crash causes card payment chaos
Serena Williams shines even as she struggles at French Open
Hawaii volcano eruption: Watch CURTAIN of lava SPRING OUT of crack with devastating force
Google to drop Pentagon AI contract after employee objections to the 'business of war'
Mattis takes hard line on China in Singapore speech
MSNBC host Joy Reid apologizes for incendiary old blog posts
Theresa May attacks Donald Trump's 'unjustified' steel tariffs
Google under fire for listing 'Nazism' as the ideology of the California Republican Party
What We Know About Meghan Markle’s Life As A Duchess So Far
Trump says Singapore summit with Kim is back on
John Brennan unleashes on Trump, says president 'grandstands like a snake-oil salesman'
Cosmetics retailer Lush criticised by police over 'spycops' ad campaign
Visa Outage Across Europe Causes Payment Chaos For Millions
NASA Just Released These Incredible Images Of Earth
WATCH: TERRIFYING video shows FURIOUS cyclist pulling HUGE knife at driver
Unemployment rate falls to 3.8% as employers add 223,000 jobs in May
Donald Trump Says Samantha Bee Should Be Fired
Close