Apple goes to war with the BBC; CEO Tim Cook ‘deeply offended’ by scurrilous allegations

“Tim Cook is ‘deeply offended’ by the BBC’s allegations that Apple mistreats workers in its Chinese factories where the company’s iPhones and iPads are assembled,” Rhiannon Williams reports for The Telegraph. “In an email to around 5,000 staff across the UK, Apple senior vice president of operations Jeff Williams said both himself and the chief executive were ‘deeply offended by the suggestion that Apple would break a promise to the workers in our supply chain or mislead our customers in any way. [BBC] Panorama’s report implied that Apple isn’t improving working conditions. Let me tell you, nothing could be further from the truth.'”

“Williams claimed that Apple had shared “facts and perspective” on the company’s commitments to human rights with the BBC in advance, but that they were ‘clearly missing from their programme,'” Williams reports. “Apple employs around 1,400 manufacturing workers in China, whom Williams said were ‘talented engineers and managers who are also compassionate people, trained to speak up when they see safety risks or mistreatment. We know of no other company doing as much as Apple does to ensure fair and safe working conditions, to discover and investigate problems, to fix and follow through when issues arise, and to provide transparency into the operations of our suppliers.'”

Read more, including what Apple is doing in regard to Indonesian tin, in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote yesterday:

These reports all carry the stench of hit-pieces since they go to ludicrous lengths to impugn Apple for the actions of others. Apple has done and continues to do more for Chinese workers than any company on earth. Blaming Apple for poor work conditions at Chinese companies is like blaming Bono for the spread of AIDS in Africa.

Apple Inc.’s Supplier Responsibility website:
www.apple.com/supplier-responsibility/

Related articles:
BBC News claims Apple ‘failing to protect Chinese factory workers’ – December 18, 2014
Apple bans use of 2 hazardous chemicals in iPhone assembly – August 13, 2014
Samsung: Sorry about that cancer – May 14, 2014
Greenpeace praises Apple for reducing use of conflict minerals – February 13, 2014
Apple confirms suppliers use conflict-free minerals – February 13, 2014
Fair Labor Association sees progress at major Apple supplier Foxconn – December 12, 2013

71 Comments

    1. Difference here is the NY Slimes won a Pulitzer for the same shoddy reporting. BBC is late to the party for lazy copycat reporting that ignores all the great strides and care Apple has put in place for worker conditions recently. Blind as a bat.

      1. While ’s commitment to fair working conditions is laudable and good, the villain in this scenario is the Chinese government. Actually, the bottom line is the Chinese people that refuse to rise up against their totalitarian state.

        BBC is on the level of CiaNN.

        1. The irony here, about the BBC and NYT hit pieces…

          Nobody friggin’ cares.

          These media outlets aren’t even preaching to the coir, they are writing this drivel for NO ONE.

          I do believe, you have to fight for your own good. No one is going to give it to you.

        2. Agreed. Apple is doing business inside a totalitarian state and the government is most to blame for monitoring worker conditions and protecting rights.

          Unfortunately, the last time the Chinese people rose up and spoke out in Tiananmen Square they were run over by tanks. Fingers crossed …

          CiaNN, most excellent.

      2. as an aside, it has always been amusing to me that the creator of “yellow journalism” is the namesake of an award for “excellence in journalism.” Kinda like the Nobel Peace Prize’s namesake was the inventor of dynamite.

    2. The BBC is far from liberal, which is not a bad thing to be. Stop using the world like a negative as you use the internet built in part with DARPA (DoD) funds and expanded with heavy public subsidy.

      The Cons wanted to shut DARPA Net down.

          1. Really, it isn’t. BBC News and factual programming is incredibly pro-establishment and right-wing. People accuse it of being left-wing because its comedy output tends to be, and those programs are more widely watched. But the News arm is anything but.

            For example, for the past year the BBC has bent over backwards to plug the Thatcherite UKIP to the point where UKIP are now winning by-elections, just because the editors disagree with David Cameron taking the traditional right-wing party the Tories towards the centre ground. They also made every possible effort to pretend there was an anti marriage-equality movement in the UK, despite overwhelming public support for allowing same-sex marriages to go ahead and no evidence for any protest movement against the changes.

            1. Have to admit it has been awhile. I was put off by their liberal positions, particularly über left comedy. So if what you say is true, seems they are are a tad CONFLICTED and CONFUSED to say the least.

    3. Only an attack on Apple is going to get the internet buzzing with tens of thousands of clicks. If it was any other company, nobody would even give a damn. It’s totally understandable why Apple is always chosen as the lead villain. Normally, the owners of a factory would be at fault, but not when it comes to Apple.

      If a factory agrees to produce X number of units it’s up to them to provide the means to do it, whether it be using increased manpower or longer hours. It’s not Apple’s fault for not being able to calculate advanced demand for a product. I certainly don’t like the idea of workers being exploited if this is the case, but I think the blame has to be at least shared by both the factory and Apple. I’d really need to see the contract to assess who’s actually at fault.

  1. Sadly, in the UK, we have to put with this dreadful left-wing organisation, relying for it’s income solely on an outdated method of licensing. The quicker the BBC is privatised the better.

    1. I’ve head a bit of BBC news IS going to be privatised.

      Funnily enough, it’s the bit that includes Panorama, so don’t expect any less of this slightly shoddy journalism when Panorama is no longer under the BBCs impartiality rules.

      Remember, the organisation isn’t left wing, and there are people of every political colour employed by it. Maybe more from the left, as apart from the Mirror and the Guardian every other news outlet in Britain is right wing.

      1. Not left wing? Either you don’t watch it or you work for them. This is the corporation that only employs people who are either Scottish, gay or from the Indian sub-continent. When was the last time you saw an Englishman on it? Oh, and this is the Corporation who fostered the major child abuse in their buildings as perpetrated by Jimmy Saville and Co.

    1. Yes, they need to be aggressive deflating the false media narrative that has gone on far too long.

      Like Apple is the only tech company in the world that has products manufactured in China.

    1. It’s already been said that current production robots don’t have the ability to assemble iPhones to Apple’s precise standards and that may be a problem for some time to come. If the factories had been counting on robots to do the job and it didn’t work out, then human workers are now likely bearing the brunt of that problem.

  2. This is a Corporate Governance issue.
    You can’t trust sub-contractors to do what they are contracted to do without a system of independent QA. That means having APPLE employees embedded in the factories used by Apple and having them report directly to a Governance Director whose job is a direct report to Cook and with everyone in the chain aware they would be sacked if this sort of issue remains in sub contractor premises. The programme showed video of many situations in a facotry making iPhones of workers exhausted at their work stations. Being paid a- even one dollar an hour to sleep or work in a dazed condition helps no one.

    1. ““Apple employs around 1,400 manufacturing workers in China, whom Williams said were ‘talented engineers and managers who are also compassionate people, trained to speak up when they see safety risks or mistreatment.” Who is it that employs these sleeping workers? Which government should protect their own citizens? Your name isn’t Mike Daisy is it?

      1. Big defence contractors have embedded military personnel that provide direct reports that are completely independent of the bullshit spoken by management to the Department. That is what I mean by independence not a local Chinnese employee of Apple but a US embedded employee with direct access to the shopfloor anywhere in the factory.

    1. China is communist in name only kind of like we (The USA) are a representative democratic republic in name only.

      When citizens poll90% against something and it passes anyway, we have ceased to be a democratic republic. Prime examples would include the TARP bailout slush fund requested by the Bush Administration- calls to Congressional Offices were running almost 99-1 Against in all districts, yet the thing was done.

      All those champions of free and unfettered markets came to Congress and demanded borrowed money be handed over to them for little, if anything. The same banks would not extend you the same courtesy.

  3. The BBC has gone downhill for the last ten years. They used to be very reputable. Here is an example of the kind of things they get up to now.

    Paul
    Thursday, December 18, 2014 – 10:32 pm · Reply

    The BBC “USED” to be a very respected organization. Panorama was one of the “gold standard” documentary programs I used to watch in my time growing up in England. Today it is a completely biased organization. I cannot today even read their web news. I used to read t every day several times a day.

    Just to show you how far they have gone towards being another FOX news here is footage of the BBC staging a FAKE chemical attack in Syria.
    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=p54hHhlLjRk

  4. As a Brit I’m deeply ashamed and embarrassed by the bias BBC programme. The failure to mention any other tech company (Scamsung) who do nothing (unlike Apple) to improve labour problems is nothing short of scandalous. I’ve made an official complaint to the BBC but I guess it will fall on deaf ears. Let’s hope Tim Cook can go thermonuclear on them.

    1. I dont believe it was advertised as a survey of working conditions. It was a direct investigation of sub-contractors working for Apple and follows up on assurances the company made several years ago. Thats not bias. If the BBC were reporting on the NHS they would not be required to tell anyone what it was like in France just to ‘balance’ the investigation.

    2. Actually having now watched the programme, I can see that the “exposure” isn’t really about Apple, but rather about corporate governance and workers rights in China. They quote from Apple’s responses frequently, and whe they talk about “broken promises” they are careful not to say that Apple broke their promises, rather that Pegatron is the bad guy.

      And yes we all know that Pegatron make kit for many another brand. But let’s face it, if you want people in the west to take notice of how the Chinese abuse workers, then talking about lesser brands like Xiomi and Samsung ain’t going to have the impact that mentioning the world’s largest company and post popular single model of phone is…

      I’m not forgiving Panorama’s take. It’s sensationalist, like so much news nowadays. I urge others to watch it and not rely on other people’s opinions.

      1. The point is Apple contracts are worth Zillions and therefore setting a pre-condition of independent, permanent, on site QA can be made because Apple has all the Aces.

        How the Chinnese companies run their other contract production lines is a matter for their own Corporate Govenance structures but Apple can insist on measures to deliver QA on Apple Corporate standards as a separate channel .

  5. I find it amazing that a company with so much wealth still can not successfully manage this problem. Obviously they need trusted auditors stationed at every factory site kicking arses and remaining on site until resolved. Customer care just look at the MacBook Pro 2011 mess they could quickly resolve. Very disappointed in Apple these days they should do better. Shame on you Tim Cook.

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