After suffering huge backlash and embarrassment following revelations that the company’s Australia operations in Melbourne, Apple has apologised to six black schoolboys who were asked to leave one of its shops in Australia, for fear that they might steal something from the store. The students, in their 10th year at Maribyrnong College, secretly video recorded part of the encounter that lasted over 15 minutes and posted the video on Facebook with a a caption “Simply Racist”. The video soon went viral and has been viewed across the globe more than 60,000 times.
Comments on social media called the Apple store “blatant racists”, others urged the schoolboys to sue the company. In the video footage of the incident at Melbourne’s Highpoint shopping centre, a Apple store employee is heard saying these guys, “area a bit worried you might steal something.” A statement many took for Apple’s racial profiling practices. Across the globe, Apple brand is held in high esteem and Apple loyalists cut across race and age.
“We just wanted to show people the prejudice we went through and the racial profiling of the Apple staff and security,” read one comments posted by one of the boys in the video.
In an attempt to salvage the situation and save the company reputation from further damage, Apple responded in a statement claiming that inclusion and diversity were among Apple’s core values. Initially, Apple Australia refused to comment on the incident as social media commentators continued to express their outrage at the store. Later on Friday morning, Apple issued a statement from its Head Quarters in the US.
“We believe in equality for everyone, regardless of race, age, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.” Read the statement quoted by the BBC. The store manager, who met the boys and their school principle apologised for the incident and said the company was looking into the issue (further).
One other boy involved, later said on Facebook that they were satisfied with the response from Apple while another said he did not have the means to sue a big company like Apple. In its statement, Apple claimed that it will “continue to do everything in our power to ensure all our customers are treated the way they should be.”