Newlyweds Taray Carey and Alex Majkowski were headed back to the East Village after a night out in Hell's Kitchen early in the morning of November 28, sharing an Uber with a friend. When their driver noticed Carey put his arm around his husband, things took a turn.
"Are you fags," he allegedly asked them.
They were stunned, and asked the driver what his problem was, telling him to "shut his mouth" and stop insulting them. In an interview, Carey claims the driver "proceeded to tell us we'd be killed and beheaded in his country." At that point, Carey's friend said they should get out of the car.
"I start getting out of the car, we're near a red light and I'm halfway out, and I reach back for my husband's hand to go and [the driver] pulls off, speeds off, dragging me halfway down the block and taking my husband in the backseat." The light at the end of the block was red with several cars already waiting and Carey's Uber stopped, allowing his husband to get out of the car.
The trio then found a nearby police car parked out Second Avenue and Fourth Street, where they explained to officers what had happened. "The officer that we first came in contact with was very condescending, didn't take what we were saying seriously," claims Carey.
"We told him what had just happened, we had the license plate number and asked if he could put something on the radio and notify people around that this guy was still in the area so he didn't have the opportunity to do this to anybody else." Carey felt that if the driver had been willing to start an altercation with three people, he might do worse to someone traveling alone. He says the officers told him not to tell them how to do their job, laughed at him and said he "probably deserved it."
OUT reached out to the NYPD about these claims, they denied this behavior based on body camera footage. "A complaint filed for leaving the scene of an accident with injury and is being investigated by the 9th Precinct Detective Squad," according to a statement by Lieutenant John Grimpel.
The couple contacted Uber, who responded the next afternoon to let them know their legal team was looking into the situation. OUT reached out to Uber, and a spokesperson says what's been reported is "very concerning to us and Uber does not tolerate any form of discrimination. The driver's access to the app has been removed as we continue to investigate." They are participating with the police investigation.
Carey sustained scrapes and road burns on his hands and hip and a "golf-ball sized bump" on his head from falling out of the car. While he's unsure if he or his husband will be pursuing legal action, they'd like to see how Uber chooses to resolve the situation and go from there. Hopefully, Carey says, "They can step up their monitoring and filtering of who they employ and they make the effort to rectify the situation. We'll see how that goes."