On Tuesday, while staff members were gathered for a meeting after CEO Travis Kalanick stepped away amid allegations he oversaw a culture of rampant sexual harassment, fellow board member Arianna Huffington made a comment about how admitting one female board member could often lead to another. Bonderman responded by quipping, "it's much likely to be more talking."
Other respondents at the meeting immediately recognized the joke as obviously sexist, the Times noted, especially given Bonderman's most recent role as a board member appointed by investor TPG was working on reforming Uber's corporate culture.
The "comment came across in a way that was the opposite of what I intended, but I understand the destructive effect it had, and I take responsibility for that," Bonderman said in a statement.
The comments came at the worst possible time. Kalanick's decision to take time away from the company was motivated by a desire to show the company had changed after a series of scandals including looking up rape victims' medical records and allegations of rampant sexual harassment of female employees.
Huffington alluded to the large-scale changes at Uber, saying in statement, "I appreciate David doing the right thing. .. at this time of critical cultural changes at the company," the Times wrote.