“Apple Is Open” Tim Cook Says in Response to Racial Profiling

Tim Cook Responds to Racism in Australian Apple Store

Last week, six black teenagers of Somalian and Sudanese origin were asked to leave an Apple Store in Melbourne, Australia. An Apple Store employee asked the teens to leave for fear they would “steal something.” The incident of racial profiling was captured on video and shared to Youtube and Facebook where it went viral, prompting Tim Cook to respond to the event with an email last Thursday.

“What people have seen and heard from watching the video on the web does not represent our values.” Cook said in his recent email, via BuzzFeed News. Cook went onto to say that the Melbourne store manager, Kate profusely apologized on behalf of the store and company, promising the teenagers that they were always welcome.

“Apple is open.” Cook stated, “While I firmly believe that this was an isolated incident rather than a symptom of a broader problem in our stores, we will use this moment as an opportunity to learn and grow.” Apple’s store leadership teams will refresh its training on inclusion and customer engagement around the world and beginning with Australia.

Read the full email below:

Subject: Apple is open

Team,

I’m sure you are all aware of the unacceptable incident which took place at our store at the Highpoint shopping center in Melbourne, Australia, on Tuesday. Several young men, who are students at a nearby school, had been asked by a security guard to leave the store. In an attempt to address the situation, one of our store employees gave an answer which shocked many of us.

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.

None of us are happy with the way this was handled. But we can all be proud of Kate, one of the senior managers at the Highpoint store.

On Wednesday, she greeted the same group of students to express a heartfelt apology on behalf of our store and our company. She reassured these young men that they and their fellow classmates would always be welcome at our store. The school’s principal later told a reporter that she delivered her message “with good grace,” and one of the students said, “It feels like we have justice now.”

Her words that day echoed a message you’ve heard many times from me and from Angela. It’s a simple pledge we all make to our customers and to ourselves:

Apple is open.

Our stores and our hearts are open to people from all walks of life, regardless of race or religion, gender or sexual orientation, age, disability, income, language or point of view. All across our company, being inclusive and embracing our differences makes our products better and our stores stronger.

The Apple Store Highpoint is staffed by people who share these values and illustrate our commitment to diversity. The team is made up of coworkers from Australia, as well as Egypt, Italy, India and five other nations. Collectively they speak 15 languages, including Urdu, Portuguese, Arabic and Mandarin.

While I firmly believe that this was an isolated incident rather than a symptom of a broader problem in our stores, we will use this moment as an opportunity to learn and grow. Our store leadership teams around the world, starting in Australia, will be refreshing their training on inclusion and customer engagement. These are concepts and practices they know well, but can always stand to reinforce.

Respect for our customers is the foundation of everything we do at Apple. It’s the reason we put so much care into the design of our products. It’s the reason we make our stores beautiful and inviting, and extend their reach to benefit the communities around them. It’s the reason we commit ourselves to enriching people’s lives.

Thank you all for your dedication to Apple, to our values, and to the customers we are so very fortunate to serve.


Tim

 

The video of the incident is below.

 

Top Image Credit: ymgerman / Shutterstock.com

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Conner Carey's picture

Author Details

Conner Carey

Conner Carey's writing can be found at conpoet.com. She is currently writing a book, creating lots of content, and writing poetry via @conpoet on Instagram. She lives in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan and dog, Jodi as they slow-travel around the country.