Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has responded to a viral video which shows an Apple Store employee in Melbourne, Australia kicking out a group of black teens. The store’s security was accused of racial profiling, as they were concerned the group might steal something just because of the color of their skin.
Cook sent an email to employees calling the incident “unacceptable”, and has pushed to re-train its leadership in stores worldwide to focus on inclusivity. The email read in part:
What people have seen and heard from watching the video on the web does not represent our values. It is not a message we would ever want to deliver to a customer or hear ourselves. Our employee immediately expressed his regret and apologized to the students.
Cook said he believed the incident was isolated in its nature but said it was important to focus on preventing such a thing from happening in the future.
In the video, the teens, who are from Sudan and Somalia, question the employees’ concerns but the only response given is “End of discussion, I need to ask you to leave our store.”
Apple and other tech companies have been under public scrutiny lately for employing and catering to white men to the exclusion of other groups. In August, Apple pledged to focus on bolstering employee diversity.
The company made strides in that department in 2015 according to its diversity report, increasing the amount of African American, Hispanic, and female employees.
Apple has supported historically black colleges and disadvantaged universities, and increased intern diversity. Other tech companies have made similar pushes. Intel promised to reach full representation at all levels by the year 2020. Other companies such as Pinterest, eBay, and Yahoo also set targets, and already have much better levels of gender diversity than Apple.
Apple is still struggling with a lack of diversity at leadership levels: it is 72 percent male and 63 percent white at the top. As reported by The Guardian, 60 of Apple’s 83 top executives are white men and there’s just a single woman in the executive suite.
So these men who work @ the Apple Store, refused to let in Somali/Sudanese students in. Racially discriminating them pic.twitter.com/yomYNpSpCg
— fd (@cyberrchxrry) November 10, 2015