Apple apologizes after allegations of racism by Australia schoolboys

“Apple has apologised to six schoolboys asked to leave one of their shops in Australia, in what the students described as a racist incident,” BBC News reports. “Footage of the incident at Melbourne’s Highpoint shopping centre emerged on Tuesday sparking a social media outcry. A staff member can be heard saying security are concerned that the boys will shoplift.”

“Apple said the store manager apologised to the boys, who are all black, and their school principal,” The Beeb reports. “In a statement the firm said: ‘Inclusion and diversity are among Apple’s core values. We believe in equality for everyone, regardless of race, age, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. That applies throughout our company, around the world with no exceptions. We’ve looked into the details of the situation and we apologise to the customers involved. We will continue to do everything in our power to ensure all our customers are treated the way they should be.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Does the store manager’s apology to the students and Apple’s statement satisfactory or does it leave you wanting/expecting more?

SEE ALSO:
Apple store accused of racial profiling after video shows staff ejecting black students – November 12, 2015

30 Comments

  1. What is missing is: 1) a commitment to increase training/education to insure this kind of behavior does not happen elsewhere or again and 2) an indication that the perpetrators have been disciplined. An apology without the above two elements is somewhat hollow.

  2. You’re not seeing the whole picture. It’s a bunch of kids carrying bags. That’s already suspicious. Kids typically don’t have a few grand to throw around on electronics. And who knows what else they were doing. They just happened to opportunistically capture the one piece of the situation that puts the bad guy blame on Apple.

    1. “Kids typically don’t have a few grand to throw around on electronics.”

      And yet, students everywhere seem to manage having expensive laptops. Marketing expensive products to students which are later purchased by their parents isn’t a really new business concept.

    2. We *might* not be seeing the whole picture. This is a case of being accused of being guilty before being proven innocent, and that is unacceptable, especially for Apple. The security guard and anyone else involved should be disciplined.

    3. How is a bunch of kids carrying bags suspicious? They are in their school uniforms and most probably on their way home from school. The Apple Store is always full of kids, looking for some or other gadget to nag their parents into buying for them. Apple markets to kids like this. “And who knows what else they were doing?” What, breathing, laughing, talking, you mean? Gimme a break.

  3. They forgot to say black lives matter. Why are we reading this nonsense anyway. Apple acting like a bunch of babies with their mouth PR department foaming at a non event and writing their boiler plate garage about “We believe in equality for everyone, regardless of race, age, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.” Spare us the bullshit.

      1. I’m assuming that your Crocodile Dundee comment is meant as a joke. That particular movie is about as representative of Australia as The Terminator is of the US.

      1. Quite the conspiracy theory here. Who are ‘they’ who first got rid of all the Native Americans in the US AND are suspected of trying to do the same with the aborigines out of Australia?

        1. It is a fact that until the 1967 referendum Australian aboriginals were not considered to be people under the law, and came under the Flora and Fauna Act. They were not counted in the census. There is no shortage of information about the slaughter of aboriginals, even into the 1920’s. In Australia, “they” were white settlers. Documented fact.

      2. BTW, these guys are not Australian aboriginals, they are of African heritage, maybe Somalian, I don’t know for sure. And I don’t really care. Australia is a racist society for sure, although many will not admit it. This incident may be nothing to some people (after all, they didn’t get shot or anything) but personally I find it to be appalling.

  4. Most of the larger stores around here have a strict policy of making ALL people with backpacks leave them in a designated area.

    They also have signs displayed that school aged children will be queried if they are in store during school hours.

    This looks like Apple PR stepping in before the reptiles of the press can beat up a story and get a cheap byline.

    1. Too late. Headline at AppleInsider, “Apple Store employees allegedly profile black students as potential thieves.”

      Am I the only one that could read that statement as a declaration of systematic profiling at all Apple Stores worldwide? It is one incident at one Apple Store.

  5. I have been using Apple products since 1988, my first purchase was the beige cube Mac with 25Mb disk storage and huge floppy disks. I was a veteran of the informal Mac user group when Mac users helped each other because we could not rely on the IT service to help us.

    After so many years, when I first visited the Apple Store (Cambridge Galleria in Cambridge, MA), I was really awed by the Apple Store staff, who were quite earnest to help even on other technical matters not related to Apple products. And, they were quite enthusiastic to do so, you can hear in their voice and the actions. The quality and demeanor of the Apple Staff and the Genius Bar have been among the reasons why I have been loyal to Apple through the years. While not a staff, I myself spent time at the store talking other customers who appear new to the Apple community, and encourage them to take the plunge to make their first purchase.

    To this date, I must say that overall I would consider most of the Apple Staff to be quite nice, helpful and very technically proficient. However, perhaps because of the sheer number of staff needed since the iPhone became a phonemail success, it has apparent during my numerous visits to the Apple Stores in Boston (mainly the one in the Galleria and Boylston St) that there are a number of hired staff who are not really technically as proficient, not well trained enough or not as dedicated (enthusiastic) as the Apple staff of the past.

    In 2014, just before I went to the Philippines for an extended stay (it turned out to be six months), for the site visit to the non-profit projects that we just started, I decided to buy the 15-inch MacBook Pro and a new iPhone then (5S). I bought the iPhone because of its new feature, the Panorama photos, because we were taking a lot of photos of the “before development” of the farms we bought and other prospective farms we might buy for the project. For that feature alone, it was well worth investment and the time saved. The camera of the iPhone was even more useful than the two semi-Pro Nikon cameras that I brought with me that were used also by the other volunteers while we were taking as many documentary photos as we can.

    We were climbing “mountains” and rolling hills so it would be easy for the iPhone camera to encounter an accident. So, I was persuaded by the very enthusiastic “newbie” staff who told me that if I get the extended Apple Care, I would have two more years (I got the impression it would total three years) of protection, including two damages to the iPhone (with full replacement at no extra cost. [I was quite busy since I was about to leave just a few days after the purchase.]

    Fortunately, in spite of the number of volunteers who used the iPhone to take photos, no accident ever happened. {There are other issues however, both with the iPhone and the new MacBook Pro that I would get into here and have spent quite a number of visits to the Apple Stores since I came back.]

    During one of those visits to the main Apple Store at Boylston St, two Japanese students was waiting at the same table as I was what turned out to be a broken iPhone 6 (quite still new in early 2015); the glass shuttered, the Japanese lady told me that it slipped from her hands or something. That was the first iime I met them and it was by mere coincidence that we were on the same table. The Genius Bar staff helping them was quite competent and quiet. What surprised the Japanese couple was when they were told that even with their extended Apple Care, they have to pay (I believe $70 or something) to have the phone replaced. I overheard this and I was surprised too (my phone had issues but not shuttered like theirs), but the impression they got from the staff (who sold them the iPhone) in early 2015 was the same spiel that I got in early 2014 — two additional year extended warranty plus two replacements (at no extra cost). The competent and very staff was firm though that the actual Apple policy was to make a payment of something like $70 for each of the two replacement plus the extended warranty was only for one year (so a total of two years).

    [As it turned out the Genius Bar staff was correct (when I had time to review the policy (after the incident) at the Store.]

    What mattered was how can three different people buying iPhones at different times (a span about a year difference, 5S and iPhone 6) get the same incorrect information from Apple sales staff?

    So, while the staff was getting the replacement iPhone for the Japanese “couple”, I shared with them the information that I had the same spiel given to me in 2014. This means that some of the staff (perhaps newer ones or not as caring) were not getting the correct information from the training staff leading to misinformation of customers. I encouraged the Japanese “couple” that we talk to the supervisor about the issue, but they were in hurry because they had a class at 6pm that evening.

    While their phone was being fixed, I was concerned and the Genius Bar staff was kind enough to enlist another staff to discuss the matter with me. And, the guy who helped me was quite nice too but obviously he was not in a position to make the decision on the matter. We agreed that there must be a breakdown in the training for the said misinformation to be given to different customers (buying phones at different times). Considering the coincidence, I wondered how many customers through the year had gotten the misinformation.

    Eventually, I requested to talk to a supervisor because I thought the misinformation issue was serious. Unfortunately, the supervisor I got was kind of rude. Instead of being more contrite and truly apologetic as the previous staff was, her solution was that if I was not agreeable to what happened, she was willing to “reimburse” the money — which was not my intention at all.

    What I wished to happen was that the seminars to new and old staff be more rigorous so that such misinformation would not happen. I was promised that but the demeanor of the supervisor was that she was quite busy and did not have the time to explore the issue with me — thus the offer to “reimburse” me.

    I was supposed to write to the Main Office or perhaps even to Tim Cook because I did find a number of staff to be not as competent as I was used to over the years. There was a time that staff would help you with other matters (not Apple products or services) for anything relevant to your experience using Apple products. Now, the official mantra, if it is not Apple product or services — you are on your own.

    When the new iPhone 6S and 6S plus came out, I was at the Apple store last month to have my first look. There were buyers as usual. But, what caught my attention was one of the staff (who was quite nice and appear quite new) telling the buyer about the Apple Care — the same misinformation that I was told in early 2014.

    If I was my usual self, I might have intervened to correct the misinformation. But, I opted not to do so. I was saddened however that after all the hours I spent with a number of staff and a supervisor that night that the Japanese couple — I was promised that they will look into the matter more seriously so that it will not happen again.

    Many months later, the same misinformation is still being given to new iPhone buyers. I am not sure if this is isolated situation because of the management of the Boylston Store here in Boston.

    I seldom post here but the issue raised in this article brings back my concern about the training of sensitivity of new Apple staff.

    I must end this however by emphasizing that overall, I have had good experiences at all the Apple stores here in Boston (the Galleria and Cambridge) and the others I visited in other states.

    CGC

  6. You can’t ever trust, in any organization, that what you discuss with the local employees will make it passed the next 5 minutes, after you leave. This is not an “Apple” problem, nor is it a US problem. It’s a human problem. What you can get them to stick to, is issues specifically related to yourself and what can be documented on your case, or account.

    To get change, such as misinformation, racial or demographic profiling, requires a business practice change at the top level. Usually national/international attention will is required.

    Again, it has nothing to do with Apple, in as much to do with the human condition. It’s difficult to break bad habits.

    At the sales floor, employees have found that if they tell the whole truth, they can’t sell ACP. That $70 per repair is a deal breaker. The truth is, on many occasions, the repair “IS” done for free on the first break, regardless of ACP or not. I have see this many times. So they run with that, although not factually true, is spiritually true. Statistically people do not experience replacements past the one freebee. So it’s easy to walk away with that perception.

    1. It’s been a while, admittedly. And it was just one group of Australian guys I met in Scotland. But I have never met a more blatantly, and gratuitously racist bunch of individuals. They regaled me with horrendous stories of the things they did to, and the general way they treated, the Aboriginals. I don’t for minute generalize their behavior to all Australians, but it certainly took me aback.

      1. Australia has had a similar history to America. I think we understand each other. We are not proud of our own pasts – we are equally challenged by it, as a modern people who simultaneously try to come to grips with our own guilt on par with other 20th century nations. We are consumed by guilt, sorrow and denial.

  7. It’s hard to say if it was racist. The contracted security guard raised the alarm and it may just have been that they were in a group and acting suspiciously. Shoplifting is a major issue among Australian youth. Still, it would be interesting to know if they have asked other groups of kids to leave…

  8. The 6 teens were on their way from home from school in school uniform carrying school backpacks just like every other teenager in Australia. backpacks are allowed in Australian Apple stores. All 6 walked in and stayed in the front end of the store. 3 left to go to another store. The 3 remaining noticed 2 security guards closely following them. All apple items are connected to their tables with a tether in Australia. Th other 3 returned to their friends were told by a security guard at the entrance they were not allowed to enter after which the second security guard escorted the initial 3 teenagers out with a manager. That’s when the video starts.

    Now that you all have the whole story, make up your minds.

    As far as I am concerned, it’s racist and it’s therefore wrong. As an Australian I can only apologise for yet another nasty public incident. As Robin Williams said “Australia is a country full of English rednecks”.

  9. Let’s do this: leave the race out of it and keep everything in perspective. Black children with backpacks are no different than white, Hispanic or any other group or kids with backpacks. They are children. We should never judge anyone. I am an Assistant Manager for a major retail company and I’ve never had to throw out children or anyone just because they have on backpacks. Shame on Apple for forgetting their core values and throwing those kids out of the store, but shame on us as a people and a society for treating people like they don’t matter just because of age and race. The bottom line is “all lives matter” and we are all human regardless of color.

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