In a YouTube video uploaded on March 23, a group of young men identified as students of the University of Michigan were caught on camera verbally abusing Uber driver Artur Zawada in Ann Arbor.
“You’re canceling us again why? For what?” a man in a black jacket says before pulling out a cell phone and filming. He then started barraging Zawada with gay slurs and insults.
“They don’t give a shit about you. They don’t give two fucks. There’s 50 of you, and there is one of me here. Who spends the most money, you little fuck?
Yeah, fuck you, Artur, you little faggot fuck. You wanna kick me off? Kick me off, you little piece of shit. You’re an Uber driver. Go fucking drive, you little fuck. Minimum wage faggot. Go fuck yourself.
You’re working all day? Guess what? I’m going to sit on my ass and watch TV. Fuck you.”
The man in the black jacket has been identified as Jake Croman, who is a member of the Tau Kappa Episilon fraternity, according to the Michigan Review.
Croman is the son of Steven Croman, who’s a wealthy real-estate developer in New York City. According to his Linkedin profile, Croman works as an “associate” at his father’s company.
This isn’t the first time Zawada and Croman has crossed paths, according to a statement to The Tab, he said that he’s driven Croman before and it didn’t go well.
“I already told him I would never take him again. He knew that but he didn’t cancel the trip,” he said. “I pulled in I didn’t even say anything to the guy, and that happened. So I pulled out my cell phone and recorded him. He should just have cancelled before I came over. They were looking for trouble. They were hoping I would lose my cool.”
“I have lived in this country for 30 years,” he said. “To see someone have complete disregard for another human being — to be abused just because they overloaded the car or they are mean or rude, I have to put a stop for it. I was shocked. I was just in disbelief.”
A spokesperson for the University of Michigan, told BuzzFeed News:
“Our dean of students has talked with both the Uber driver and the students. We are extremely disappointed in the behavior depicted in this video. No one should be treated with such disrespect.”
Alex Baker, the chief information officer for Tau Kappa Epsilon, told BuzzFeed News:
“We are extremely disappointed by the individual’s demeaning words [..] At the conclusion of our swift, thorough investigation, we will handle the situation with appropriate action. Depending on the details of the investigation, this could include the expulsion of membership.”
Another Side to the Story?
Jake Croman told BuzzFeed News that his actions were provoked by Zawada’s alledged anti-Semitic remarks.
“This video shows one side of an argument I had with an Uber driver two weeks ago after he refused to pick me up on the basis of my religion. What you don’t see in the video is that the driver had made a number of offensive anti-Semitic remarks that provoked my response. I am not proud of my reaction to his discrimination and I regret my choice of words. Shortly after the verbal altercation, I filed a complaint with the Ann Arbor police department and they are now dealing with the issue.”
In the YouTube comments, a user claiming to be a Jewish sophomore at U of M said the following:
An email was also sent to The Michigan Review claiming to be a friend of Croman that corroborates Croman’s claims of Zawada’s alleged anti-semitism.
We’ll have to see how this plays out. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further info regarding this story.