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Gloria Steinem Calls Out Uber

Dec 09, 2015

Uber is one of those companies that inspires strong feelings in people—some good, some very, very bad. After taking a peek at Gloria Steinem's Christmas list, it seems safe to put the feminist icon in the latter camp.

Speaking at a Dec. 5 holiday show for the Betty Effect, an organization that uses music to empower women for social change, Steinem unleashed a list of the "top 10 things I want for Christmas." And while her rundown doled out praise to a few—including President Obama—it's the "naughty" portion of the list where things get interesting.

One target, coming in at No. 5: Uber. Here's what Steinem had to say about the ride-hailing giant:

I want Uber to stop charging for the weather—nobody, not even airlines, charge for the weather!—and I want Uber to stop refusing the disabled, and now, with 30,000 unregulated Uber cars in New York City, driving wheelchair accessible taxis out of business.

Steinem's first complaint appears to refer to Uber's surge pricing policy, under which prices rise as demand increases, such as during bad weather. While the policy is widely despised, it seems unlikely to disappear; the ride-hailing company has said that the rate hike helps motivate more drivers to hit the road during peak times. (Pro tip: Wait it out. A recent study found that surge periods are typically short, as little as five minutes.)

Her second point, though, remains hotly debated. Uber, which along with competitor Lyft, has been sued for discriminating against disabled passengers—a charge both companies have denied. Uber has defended itself by arguing that it's a tech company, not a taxi company, and is therefore immune to the laws that regulate transportation providers. The ride-hailing company does not require that drivers have wheelchair accessible cars, though it does partner with third parties to allow app users in some cities—including New York—to hail a wheelchair-friendly ride.

Uber declined Fortune's request for comment.

Uber wasn't Steinem's only target. Also in her sights: Donald Trump, state legislatures, "ultra-right-wingers," and lax gun laws. The icon did include some holiday cheer on her list, praising Black Live Matter founders Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors and sending "a nice Christmas thank you to President Obama."

To read Steinem's full list, check out her Facebook page.

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