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San Diego Rainbow Key recipient says he was ousted from Uber for 'kissing my man' at Pride

After recieving a rainbow Pride Key to the city, Crum says he was put out of Uber for kissing his man.
Photo credit:
Brian Justin Crum

Singer Brian Justin Crum was given a Rainbow Key to the City on Saturday during San Diego Pride, but moments later after his performance, he says he was thrown out of his Uber ride for kissing his boyfriend.

"It was shocking that this happened at Pride," Brian told San Diego Gay and Lesbian News. "Uber was one of the sponsors of San Diego Pride."

Before Pride, on July 10, Uber announced that they would provide "safe" rides for travelers throughout the weekend.

Brian's incident happened at about 5:30 pm Saturday afternoon. He had just finished his performance and his Pride liaison ordered an Uber Black. 

The celebrity was excited about being recognized by The San Diego LGBT Visitor's Center for using his fame to talk openly about personal experiences as a bullied gay man.

But when he got into the car he was faced with a situation representative of what he is honored for fighting against.

Joyful and proud, Brian gave his boyfriend a quick peck on the lips in the backseat of the Uber vehicle. He says that's when the driver became confrontational.

"The driver quickly asked us to 'not do that in his car,'" Brian says, "We were both so shocked. I told him that I would absolutely embrace my man, and that we were not doing anything offensive. He pulled the car over quickly and insisted that we get out of his vehicle."

The couple refused to exit the car because Brian was holding his performance costume and the Rainbow Key. He says the driver called the police and began telling passersby that the couple just got in his car without calling. Brian took a screenshot of the request.

Amid the stress, Brian and his boyfriend kept their cool and remained seated, "We told him that he was discriminating against us and that was illegal."

The liaison came to their rescue at which point the couple got out, "I quickly tweeted Uber. They responded quickly and promised that they would look into the situation."

The 29-year-old pop star took a screenshot of his trip on Twitter with information about the driver. The driver's bio says that he has been with the company for three-and-a-half years.

An Uber spokesperson released the following statement to SDGLN concerning the incident:

“Discrimination has no place in our community -- especially on a weekend meant to celebrate inclusion and diversity. Drivers and riders are expected to treat each other with respect, and we will take the appropriate action.”

According to Uber's website they do not condone any type of discrimination based on sexuality.

Uber seeks to ensure that safe, reliable, and high-quality transportation options are available to everyone.

Uber and its affiliates therefore prohibit discrimination against riders or drivers based on race, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, sex, marital status, gender identity, age or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal or state law.

Such discrimination includes, but is not limited to, refusing to provide or accept services based on any of these characteristics. Any rider or driver found to have violated this prohibition will lose access to the Uber platform.

For his activism, the “America’s Got Talent” finalist will be honored every year henceforth: July 15 will now be called Brian Justin Crum Day.

But the artist says despite being embraced by San Diego, his plight is far from over and his situation is, "A reminder that we still have so much work to do."

Others who received the Honorary Rainbow Key to the City are Patrik Gallineaux, the neighborhood mobile watch program The Stonewall Citizens Patrol and Mexican pop star, Lucia Mendez.

Correction: The Honorary Rainbow Key to the City was given out by The San Diego LGBT Visitor's Center, not the San Diego LGBT Community Center as previously reported.