Professional dancer sues Uber, claiming driver sexually assaulted her in East Hollywood

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A professional dancer and choreographer is suing Uber, saying she was groped by her driver nearly two weeks ago before being dropped off in East Hollywood.

Erica Holland stood next to her attorney Lisa Bloom Thursday afternoon to discuss the lawsuit and suspected sexual assault.

"I trusted you. I thought I was safer in an Uber," she said. "He started driving and he violently grabbed my hair and pulled my head toward him."

Holland said she was the lone passenger and was instructed to place her bags in the back seat and sit up front with the driver.

She said the encounter ended with the man reaching up her dress.

"I said, 'You are a terrible person. Don't ever do that. Don't ever touch a woman without her permission. Go home. I am reporting you to Uber,'" she said.

During Thursday's press conference, Holland said her first reaction was to text friends and post on social media. It was shortly after the incident that she contacted the ride-sharing company and police.

"Afterwards you look back and think, 'Gee. I could have done this. I could have done that.' In the moment, she said she was paralyzed in fear, trying to think of what she should do. If you call 911, he's going to hear you. Is he going to get more violent?" Bloom said.

In Holland's lawsuit, she is demanding immediate reforms, such as adding a panic button to the app and mandatory dashcameras in each Uber vehicle.

"Uber never even meets its drivers. It's all done online," Bloom said.

Bloom said what happened to her client is a reflection of corporate culture. The press conference comes just two days after Uber's CEO and founder resigned amid reports of sexual harassment within the company.

"I now know that for years women have been asking you to do more and you've been ignoring them," Holland said.

A company spokesperson for Uber released the following statement in response to the allegations:

"What this rider reported is awful. Our Community Guidelines prohibit any sexual conduct and we removed the driver's access as this matter continues to be reviewed."

Eyewitness News contacted the LAPD, but they did not respond with any additional information on the incident.
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