A Taco Bell marketing manager involved in an altercation with an Uber driver in California this past Friday is apologizing for his actions, saying the violent assault “isn’t me.”
Benjamin Golden, 32, was the mobile experience & innovation lead for the fast food giant Taco Bell until he was terminated from the position earlier this week, after video of the attack went viral across North America.
“It’s not me in the video. It’s not me,” a tearful Golden told CBS News. “It was hard to watch and I’m ashamed.”
The violent assault occurred Friday at around 8:00 p.m. PT, when Uber Driver Edward Caban picked up Golden in Newport Beach, California.
He asked to go to Costa Mesa, but was so intoxicated he was unable to provide directions or even do up his seatbelt.
After several frustrating minutes, Caban decided he’d seen enough – turning his dashboard camera around to face into the backseat and telling his intoxicated passenger that the ride is over.
“You’re too drunk to give me directions, man. I’m kicking you out,” Caban could be heard saying in his video as Golden fumbled in the backseat.
“Get out of my car or I will call the police.”
Suddenly, Golden exploded into a violent rage, striking the back of Caban’s head repeatedly while screaming obscenities at him.
“He was grabbing my head and was trying to smash it against the window,” Caban told NBC4 in California.
WATCH: The raw video from Caban’s dashboard camera shows what happened before, during, and after the assault
After enduring repeated blows to the head and face, Caban sprays his passenger with mace. As the man stumbled out in pain, Caban followed him while shouting to passersby to call 911.
Golden lost his managerial position at Taco Bell a short time after the video of the violent altercation went viral earlier this week.
“Given the behaviour of the individual, it is clear he can no longer work for us,” Taco Bell media relations spokesperson Ashley Sioson told Global News. “We have also offered and encouraged him to seek professional help.”
“I’m not one to get in fights,” Golden said in his interview with CBS. “I think a lot of people that I know are in shock by what they saw.”
But the man he assaulted isn’t buying Golden’s explanation.
“You know, he says it’s not him. But that’s the only him I know,” Caban said. “I don’t know whether he was crying because he was so shocked that it went viral.”
The Costa Mesa police department charged Golden with assault on the cab driver and public intoxication. If convicted, he could face up to one year in prison.