- Publish Date
- Wednesday, 13 June 2018, 3:28PM
A lesbian couple claims to have been kicked out of their Uber ride by a homophobic driver because they shared a small kiss in the back seat.
Alex Iovine, 26, and her girlfriend, Emma Pichl, 24, were riding with the car service on Saturday evening in Manhattan when the driver suddenly pulled over and told them to get out of the car.
The women initially thought the man was joking, but once they realized he wasn't they began recording the incident, the Daily Mail reports.
Iovine said she and Pichl ordered an Uber to take them from a friend's birthday party in Brooklyn to another party in East Village at around 5pm.
"We were sitting on opposite sides of the car," she told the New York Daily News. "We leaned in for a peck, and that's what it was, a legit peck."
After the quick kiss the driver pulled the car over and told the women to get out of the car.
"My girlfriend started laughing. She thought he was joking," Iovine, an advertising technology consultant, said.
Iovine says the two are aware of Uber's policy against riders having sex in the backseat, but that the kiss was far from objectionable.
"He yelled at us for being disrespectful and inappropriate because we pecked on the lips."
Video footage shows the unidentified driver opening the door to the backseat as Iovine asks him why they're being thrown out.
"It's illegal," he said. "You can't do this in the car. You aren't allowed to do this."
Iovine presses him to explain, asking: "Why are we not allowed to kiss in an Uber?"
"It's disrespectful," he says as he reaches for the phone to stop the recording.
The couple angrily threatens to call the police, saying: "It's not illegal to kiss in New York."
Both Iovine and the driver submitted complaints about the incident to Uber.
The company responded with a statement saying: "Uber does not tolerate any form of discrimination, and we have reached out to the rider regarding her experience.
"We are investigating and will take appropriate action."
Iovine said she has yet to receive a response from Uber, adding: "Getting this out there, getting a refund and getting an apology is all I want right now."
"It was a really terrible experience - and ironically occurred on a bright sunny day during pride month in NYC."
The 26-year-old also filed a complaint with the city's Human Right's Commission.
"Obviously, he's homophobic. 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."
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission.