The CEO of an Arizona-based organic fertilizer company has been booted from his own business after hurling the n-word at an Uber driver. Hans Berglund, 71, who is also the founder of Agroplasma, hailed a ride Jan. 31 and got in the front seat of the car that responded—apparently failing to notice multiple signs inside and outside the vehicle, as well as on his driver's Uber profile, reading, "Front seat use is reserved for parties of 3 or more," per the Washington Post. Driver Randy Clarke, 25, instituted the policy after being assaulted by a rider in 2018. When Berglund sat in the front seat, Clarke asked him to move to the back. In an incident caught on video (Clarke has cameras installed in his car in case of a situation just like this), Berglund argued, and while he initially asked for the ride to be canceled, he ultimately stuck around and things got heated, the Phoenix New Times reports.
Clarke said he would cancel and refund the ride, but Berglund apparently changed his mind and got into the back seat, saying, "I’m going to ride in the back, and I’m going to file a complaint. Okay? I have the right to make my own options." Clarke asked him to exit the car, at which point Berglund said, "Is that because I’m white? And you're a f---ing [n-word]?" He ultimately left the car, after spewing more profanity, after Clarke told him the interaction was being recorded. Clarke complained to Uber (which, a source says, has banned Berglund from its service) and within days of the incident Agroplasma told ABC 15 Berglund had been replaced as CEO. Berglund has apologized to multiple outlets and insists he's not racist, but he has also complained that his life has been ruined. Clarke plans to file official complaints with Tempe's Human Relations Commission and the Arizona attorney general. (Read more racism stories.)