Lawsuit accuses Broadway Apple Store employees of racial discrimination

“Plaintiffs Brian Johnston, 34, and Nile Charles, 25, have accused Apple of discrimination after an incident they claim occurred on Dec. 9, 2010. Both Johnston and Charles went to the store at 1981 Broadway when the incident allegedly began with an Apple employee, said to be white and in his 50s,” Neil Hughes reports for AppleInsider.

“The lawsuit notes that Charles and Johnston, who are black, went to the Broadway Apple store wearing ‘baggy jeans and large sweaters with hoods’ to purchase headphones. It was around 3:20 p.m., they claim, that the Apple employee, about 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, confronted them,” Hughes reports. “The lawsuit alleges that the Apple employee approached the customers in an ‘intimidating fashion,’ invading their ‘personal space,’ and said to them, ‘You know the deal. You know the deal.'”

Hughes reports, “The employee allegedly told the plaintiffs that they must leave the store unless they planned to purchase something or see a Mac Specialist. Johnston and Charles claim that before they could respond, the Apple employee told them they were not welcome there because of their race… The lawsuit accuses Apple of discrimination under both New York and federal civil rights laws. The plaintiffs seek punitive damages, and originally argued that those damages exceed the jurisdictional amounts of all lower courts.”

More details in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn W.” for the heads up.]

47 Comments

  1. I am convinced that Apple is a racist company. I have been to several of their stores, and even drove by Cupertino on my last vacation. Everywhere I looked they had obviously done all of their hiring based on race. It was incredibly blatant. I was actually rather shocked. THEY ONLY HIRE HUMANS!!! APPALLING!!!

    1. Niggars steal things from stores??- You bet your sweet ass. I live in Maryland- I watch the news and on a daily basis, there is some niggar-reported crime!!

  2. Did they wear their low-riding jeans low enough at the hip to show a substantial proportion of their underwear? Must have been flashing their buttocks at the Apple store employee.

    The only racial discrimination I can think of Apple committing is by not bringing out the black version of the white MacBook.

  3. I guess everyone is looking for ways to sue Apple in hopes of getting $$$. There’s no way I believe that the Apple employee said to these guys they have to leave because of their race. No way.

  4. Absolute crap, as an Apple Retail worker, doesn’t stoop that low. Sounds like someone needs some cash. I’ve been in an Apple Store where some of the angry customers look like they just came from the Harcore Pawn TV Show & everyone is still nice to them.

  5. Come on. Does ANYONE actually believe that those 2 people were innocently purchasing headphones? Give me a break. They were probably seconds away from SHOPLIFTING headphones. There would be no other reason for an Apple employee to speak to them that way.

    1. So in effect, you are saying it’s acceptable to profile someone based on their appearance and just assume they are up to no good. Just clarifying because that is pretty much the definition of racism. You are using a racist argument to justify alleged racist actions of the Apple Store employee.

      1. I don’t know what really happened in that store. It’s doubtful it went down exactly the way it’s described. Nevertheless, profiling based on appearance isn’t evil. It’s automatic. You can’t even decide not to do it. You make a million decisions about people based on details too minute for your conscious mind in the first second of being near them. You can’t stop that if you try.

        1. Rip Ragged, you are exactly correct. It is often an unconscious act. It is not necessarily a bad thing in most situations and does not always have anything to do with racism. Sometimes those who shout “racism” the loudest are the biggest racists themselves.

      2. VV, I think you may be referring to profiling, not necessarily racism. However, for those who work with gangs, it is possible (not certain, of course) that their garb represented gang dress in that community. People identify themselves as being part of gangs or other groups by dressing as those gangs or groups dress. If that is the case there (and I can’t know that), the store employees were simply taking actions designed to keep out undesirables… gang members, as they saw it. I don’t know that such is the case, of course.

        It is perfectly acceptable to most people to prevent certain people from entering a business and people should not be accused of anything when they base that on their appearance. For example, anything wrong with a ski mask? Not when you’re skiing! But if two people with ski masks and bulges under baggy coats enter a bank (or a store), they may get stopped or prevented from entering. If someone tells me that indicates some bias or racism because they are judged by what they wear, I’ll be squarely on the other side of that one.

        We weren’t there to know exactly what was going on. But it is certainly possible that the employee did the right thing.

        Or not.

  6. Whenever somebody creates a big piece of cheese, every rat and mouse that walks down the street tries to figure how to carve a chunk for themselves. That goes for Lodsys, Samsung, Android, other iPhone/iPad/iPod copycats, and these two mopes. Race has nothing to do with it.

  7. Yeah riiiight. Dressing like thieves from “the hood” surely had nothing to do with being confronted. Yup! I’m sure these Apple employees would have treated Oprah, Morgan Freeman, Shaq, or Barack the same way. Uhh huh … yes indeedy!

  8. The greatest thing we, as a society, can hope for as an outcome of this recession is that it forces a few “law” schools to close. Too many lawyers with fly-by-night law degrees create bullshit nuisance lawsuits like this one.

  9. Given that the description of the incident involves one, single, solitary racist employee, I don’t see how this equates to “Apple employees” racially discriminating. So Apple hired one assh*le. It happens.

    ——RM

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