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Watch: Lesbian Couple Tossed Out by Uber Driver for a 'Peck'

by Kilian Melloy
Wednesday Jun 13, 2018
Emma Pichl and her girlfriend, Alex Iovine
Emma Pichl and her girlfriend, Alex Iovine  (Source:Facebook/Alex Iovine)

A New work City lesbian couple shared a quick peck in the back of an Uber over Pride weekend - and that got them tossed by the driver, who called their quick kiss "illegal" and "disrespectful," the New York Post reported.

The couple were heading home after a birthday party in Brooklyn, the article said, and the car had just crossed the Manhattan Bridge when the kiss tok place; a few minutes later the driver let the women know he had taken umbrage, Emma Pichl, 24, told the Post.

According to Pichl, the driver "pulled the cab over and said, 'You should not do that.' "

"And then he opened the car doors," Pichl went on to say. At first she thought the driver was "kidding," a point that her girlfriend, Alex Iovine, 26, reiterated to the press.

Iovine was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying, "She thought he was joking."

However, the driver, identified in the article as Ahmad El Boutari, was serious. Iovine began to take video of the encounter with her phone.

"He started yelling at us that we are disrespecful and inappropriate, and that he wants us out of his car," Pichl recounted.

After claiming that the kiss was "illegal," Boutari grabbed at Iovine, trying to stop her from recording the incident, the women said. He eventually drove off, leaving the women on the street. They were charged $22 for the ride although they didn't get to their destination with the driver.

"It was a really terrible experience," Iovine said, "and ironically occurred on a bright sunny day during Pride Month in NYC."

The CEO of Uber, Dara Khosrowshahi, issued a statement in which she said that homophobic drivers "don't belong on Uber," the Post reported in a followup article.

"This is an open society and Uber is platform that is available to anybody regardless of your background, your orientation," Khosrowshahi said, "and that is sacred to us.

"It is an unfortunate circumstance, and we will do everything we can for that not to repeat," Khosrowshahi added.

The women reported the driver to New York City's Human Rights Commission, as well as to Uber, the Daily Mail said.

"We were in shock," Pichl told the media. "We always thought we lived in this untouchable New York City bubble where LGBTQ is so accepted.... It was a good lesson to show it can happen to you anywhere."

Watch Iovine's video below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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