Hans Berglund, the CEO of the organic fertilizer company Agroplasma, was caught on video calling 25-year old Randy Clarke, an Uber driver, the n-word. Berguland has now been fired.
AgroPlasma Inc. released a statement to an ABC-affiliate in Arizona, explaining Berglund has been fired “in light of the events of this past Friday, Agroplasma CEO Hans Berglund has been relieved of his duties while the company performs a full internal investigation. The incident is not at all reflective of Agroplasma’s values and ethics. Our relationships with our employees, customers and the community are the cornerstones of our success, and we are doing everything in our power to rebuild their trust and repair the harm that has resulted from this incident.”
The statement also revealed that an interim CEO will assume the role in the meantime.
Uber also spoke out, "Discrimination has no place on the Uber app or anywhere. What’s been described is a clear violation of our Community Guidelines and we launched an investigation as soon as we learned of it.”
Hans Berglund, 72, is now apologizing, telling ABC 15, "I deeply regret and apologize for the hurtful and derogatory language I used during the altercation with Mr. Clarke. I firmly believe that there is no excuse for the use of racial slurs under any circumstance, so I will not offer any. It is my sincere hope that Mr. Clarke hears and accepts my apology and believes me when I say it is honest and heartfelt."
Hans has been suspended by Uber.
In case you missed it, in a video from the ABC-affiliate in Arizona, Berglund is insisting on sitting in the front seat even though Clare has stickers on his car window explaining the front seat is reserved for parties of three or more. Clarke began doing this after he was sexually assaulted by a male passenger in 2018, according to ABC.
On the video, you can calmly hear the Uber driver asking, “Mind sitting in the back?”
The 72-year-old refused, “No, I don’t like to sit there.” They agreed to cancel the trip but then the man got in the backseat. He ranted, "I'm here, I'm in the backseat."
Clarke asked him to please leave his vehicle. “Is it because I’m white?” the man said. “And you’re a f***ing n*****. You’re a f***ing idiot.”
The racist man left the vehicle but Clarke did some research and found out that the rider was Hans Berglund, the CEO of the organic fertilizer company Agroplasma.
Clarke told ABC-affiliate in Arizona that he was in “shock” and “I shamelessly felt like laughing because I did not know this was real … It’s not just any word.” He also told news outlet 12 News: “I feel that Uber could do more to prevent these types of situations by implementing features that help us drivers deal with these situations better.”
Watch video of the incident below:
(Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP via Getty Images)