Eight things PR pros need to know on Monday morning, 12.15.2014

Uber changes direction on Sydney surge pricing during hostage crisis; Sony asks media to stop reporting on leaked docs; More University of Virginia students speak out on Rolling Stone article.

1. Uber’s latest reputational challenge stems from Sydney, Australia, where it introduced "surge pricing" fare increases of as much as four times the regular rate for customers leaving the city’s central business district, where a hostage crisis was unfolding on Monday. It quickly changed course, offering free rides for people leaving the area.

A French court also said it will ban Uber’s primary service in the country next year.

Australian police are monitoring social media as part of their response to the ongoing hostage situation.

2. Sony Pictures Entertainment has sent a letter to several prominent media outlets demanding they stop reporting on and delete any embarrassing information about the company obtained after the massive cyberattack against it.

Emails disclosed on Friday by Bloomberg News detailed how the company’s former head of corporate communications, Charles Sipkins, found himself out of a job after a Sony executive was left off a Hollywood Reporter roundtable.

3. University of Virginia students identified by pseudonyms in Rolling Stone’s article into a supposed gang-rape incident on campus are speaking out on the record to correct what they see as inaccuracies in the piece.

4. McDonald’s is reaching out to media firms and ad agencies to help the fast-food chain better connect with Millennials through charitable partnerships, according to The Wall Street Journal.

5. Bill Cosby told the New York Post that he expects black media outlets to report on the more than a dozen allegations of sexual misconduct against him with a neutral frame of mind.

6. South Dakota has pulled a PSA asking its residents not to "jerk and drive" this winter. The ads, of course, were referring to drivers pulling off the road too quickly during icy conditions.

7. A Cleveland police union has demanded an apology from the Cleveland Browns after two of its players wore shirts in pre-game warmups demanding justice for Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old shot by police while playing with a toy gun. The team has stood its ground to this point.

8. Former Vice President Dick Cheney adamantly defended on Meet the Press on Sunday his stance on interrogation techniques used by the CIA and military after the 9-11 attacks, saying, "I’d do it again in a minute."

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