With racial tension and race relations having become more of a national conversation in recent times, anything of the sort is bound to make headlines. Unfortunately for Apple, it found itself on the wrong side of that conversation after an incident in a Melbourne, Australia, Apple Store, reports BBC.
A video surfaced on Tuesday of six black teenagers, who are Maribyrnong College students and from Somalia and Sudan, being prevented from entering that Apple Store, a video that was recorded by Francis Ose, one of the teenagers who was denied entry. In the video, an Apple Store staff member can be heard saying, “These guys, they’re just a bit worried about your presence in our store.”
When one of the teenagers asked what the reason was for such worry, the same employee said, “They’re just worried you might steal something.” The video eventually culminated with the Apple Store employee asking the teenagers to leave the store.
After Ose posted the video on his Facebook wall, the video accumulated over 62,000 views. Unsurprisingly, the video sparked accusations of racism on the part of the Apple Store representative.
However, in a statement sent to the outlet, Apple apologized for the employee’s actions, saying a senior manager also apologized to the teenagers.
“Inclusion and diversity are among Apple’s core values,” reads the statement. “We believe in equality for everyone, regardless of race, age, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.”
Interestingly, the incident reached Apple CEO Tim Cook’s desk, which prompted him to release a companywide email. In the email, obtained by BuzzFeed, Cook said the Apple Store incident “does not represent our values” and it is “not a message we would ever want to deliver to a customer or hear ourselves.”
Even though Cook said one of the senior managers at that Apple Store apologized to the teenagers after the students returned with their principal, he believes that is not enough and will have Apple’s store leadership teams around the world brush up on inclusion and customer engagement training.