Apple store accused of racial profiling after video shows staff ejecting black students

“A group of black teenagers was told to leave an Apple store in Melbourne because staff were worried they ‘might steal something,'” Melissa Davey reports for The Guardian.

“A video of the interaction between a Highpoint Apple store staff member and a group of students was uploaded to Facebook on Tuesday night,” Davey reports. “The six boys from Maribyrnong College were denied entry to the store by a staff member and two security guards. ‘These guys [security guards] are just a bit worried about your presence in our store. They’re just worried you might steal something,’ the Apple staff member says in the video.”

“A member of the group replied: ‘Why would we steal something?'” Davey reports. “One of the students evicted from the store, Mabior Ater, told Fairfax Media that he had been going to the Highpoint shopping centre for a long time. Ater said the principal of their school accompanied the students back to the store to help them in seeking an apology. ‘[The manager] apologised to us and told us that we are welcome here anytime,’ he said. ‘It feels like we have justice now.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Shopping while black.

As part of his quest for equality for all, Apple CEO Tim Cook should make prominent examples of the Apple Store Highpoint’s staff and security members involved.

Tim Cook should make the actual “end of discussion” here and it should carry some real meaning, clarity, and finality.

Apple has always been different. A different kind of company with a different view of the world. It’s a special place where we have the opportunity to create the best products on earth — products that change lives and help shape the future. It’s a privilege we hold dear.

Diversity is critical to innovation and it is essential to Apple’s future. We aspire to do more than just make our company as diverse as the talent available to hire. We must address the broad underlying challenges, offer new opportunities, and create a future generation of employees as diverse as the world around us. We also aspire to make a difference beyond Apple.

This means fostering diversity not just at Apple but throughout our entire ecosystem, from the customers we welcome in our stores to the suppliers and developers we work with. We are committed to fostering and advancing inclusion and diversity across Apple and all the communities we’re a part of.Apple CEO Tim Cook

MacDailyNews Note: Update: 10:15am ET: Apple has apologized via a statement to the media.

SEE ALSO:
Apple apologizes after allegations of racism by Australia schoolboys – November 12, 2015

41 Comments

      1. Walmart and winco both were removing white kids from the store for singing Christmas carols, oh just last year. And the winco case was little kids..

        Not saying this incident was/wasn’t racist, just saying it does happen to kids in general.

        We don’t know the back story (or has that video been released from Apple?) they could have been trying to distract the sales people or bothering customers that were trying to purchase stuff. Who knows.

        Maybe the guy kicking them out was being racist and the kids are the greatest kids ever. We don’t know.

        Videos like this don’t tell everything, just one side and almost never include anything that may have provoked the situation.

        1. There’s a HUGE difference between asking a group of people singing in your store to leave (although Walmart apologized and invited them back the next day) and barring a group of teenagers from even entering. If you don’t get that, you just don’t get it.

          1. True.

            Winco’s incident if I remember right they were in the parking lot.. Near where the Girl Scouts set up.

            And Walmart invited them back just cause they got called out for throwing them out.

            The more I think about it, I wonder if it was the guy asking them to leave the backpacks outside, or leave by the front door and they refused. And it went downhill from there, I always see kids getting bitchy for having to be deprecated from their backpacks.

            Mentioning the backpacks cause it was brought up earlier as a reason to NOT kick them out… Cause they were obviously coming from school. (Like that mattered)

    1. If someone needs to explain this to you, it is obvious that you are oblivious and ignorant.

      The store security guards made assumptions based on the race alone. There was no other reason why they would assume the students were potential thieves other than the fact that they were black.

      1. Obviously this is the first time a black person has ever tried to walk into an Apple store.

        *checks watch*

        Took ’em long enough.

        (Either that or the guys were spotting grabbing stuff and trying to put stuff int their bags, etc. Or were overheard talking about stealing.)

      2. It sounds like you made assumptions based on a prejudice just as you are charging the guards did, your prejudice being that if White guards remove Blacks for anything, it is racist.

        If you weren’t there, didn’t ask security the right questions and maybe checked to see if other stores in the area do this, you are no different that those you accuse.

        Dallas, 1976, after leaving 9th grade everyday, the local 7-11 barred more than 5 kids in the store at a time. We had to wait outside in line while adults walked passed.
        They had good reason, but were they ageist?

        When did so many adults stop using common-sense in any discussion concerning race? It’s bad enough millennial can’t see anything EXCEPT race.

        Nice going, Leftys….

        1. Around schools, that still happens.
          A local Pizza place that sells by the slice at lunch time even barred kids period during school days 11-2.

          Parents were pissed cause thats where they allowed their kids to get lunch instead of from the school.
          They went on the local news and explained, showing incident after incident of the HS kids on video stealing food/money/drinks/everything else and said that if parents taught their kids to not steal.. they may let them back in.

          100% supported them in their decision.

  1. There is more to this story.

    Maybe these young men have a history in this store. Maybe this store has a theft problem.

    The last thing Apple needs is to become even more political. Cook is tarnishing the company with his activism and at some point it will hurt Apple.

    Apple needs to make their products and sell them. leave the social commentary out of it.

    1. So, you claim there is more to this story, and follow up with “maybe” this and “maybe” that.

      What is there about these guys that makes you think either of your “maybes” is true?

          1. not all apologies are admissions of guilt.. Tim Cook could have ordered the guy make the apology (or be fired) before Tim Cook even gets all the info from the incident. And yes.. you DO apologize about this before it gets out of hand, let the truth be explained later. Apple is just trying to get ahead of the bad PR.

            For all we know these kids could have been raising all kinds of Hell PRIOR to the video where they were acting all calm etc.

            I AM NOT saying this wasn’t racist.. nor saying this didn’t happen. Just saying that we do not know the whole story yet, and may never know.
            Quit jumping to a conclusion by what you see in a 19 second video. *WHY* is there nothing before or after that 19 seconds?… Apple records their floor.. where is Apple’s surveillance video of the incident?

            Has anyone even considered that maybe Apple was targeted, and this was something designed to make Apple look bad?
            What if these kids are Samsung/Microsoft employees paid to disrupt the Apple Store, and when confronted.. act all polite and make the Apple employees look bad. (and only record/release a short video)

            And before you say BS.. this wouldn’t be the first time a company has been targeted by groups.

            1. Not going to call BS on what you say. Kids are getting very savvy about the power of cell phone videos. And I doubt Apple is going to do anything to extend the duration of this story. But there were better remedies available. If the floor video captures actual bad actions, react to that, not what ever is going on in some mall cops head.

              We can’t know the intentions of the students, but sometimes a customer is just a customer, no matter if you or I think they should have the money or not.

            2. Yeah i’m not taking any side in this issue yet.
              Could go either way, and we sure don’t have the whole story.

              And you are probably correct, Apple may just want to extend the apology and walk away from the whole thing. And it could very well be the guy was in the right (again we don’t know what really happened) but Apple just wants it to go away.

    2. …”The last thing Apple needs is to become even more political. Cook is tarnishing the company with his activism and at some point it will hurt Apple.”

      This statement makes no sense in the context of this event. None of what happened in the store was of Cook’s doing. The store clerk and security guards took action because of racial profiling. If anything, Cook’s activism wasn’t sufficiently aggressive, since these store workers apparently didn’t get the message.

      Promoting fairness, equal rights and clean energy is tarnishing???!!! I am having a very hard time finding a way that could be negative for the company.

      1. While I DO agree with the statement in general… It does NOT apply to this situation.

        Unless Tim Cook has made a public statement on the issue and made it a political issue..

        Really has nothing to do with Apple, just the employee/guard etc.

  2. Yes, he should close the store, until they can find new staff. He should find those students, offer them summer jobs, computers, iPhones, iPads, or he and Apple can wait until a lawyer finds these people and sues Apple. Hopefully those students won’t be so forgiving accepting only those tokens.

  3. I was once told by an Aussie native that Australia is about 50 years behind the US when it comes to attitudes towards minorities and women. Racism, pure and simple. Fire everyone who dealt with these kids.

    What — you don’t think Apple Stores attract groups of teenagers all over the world. That’s what they were DESIGNED to do. It’s an “aspirational” brand. Even if they can’t buy stuff today, let them experience a 5K iMac in the store, and in a few years they WILL buy it. That’s the Apple way.

  4. We all know the media routinely blows these situations out of proportion, and manages to leave key facts out of their stories, the video maybe only part of the story, and we may never get the whole story… or it like other stories like this, could all be staged.

  5. Another perspective. That it was the size of the group that made them a perceived problem for Apple’s hired security people. I’ve lived in Melbourne – seems like these are good kids (from conflict zones in Africa) but large and energetic.

    >When the [Oz]BC’s Hack program covered the story on air, a woman who said she worked at the Highpoint Apple store phoned the program to say the incident was not motivated by racism.

    “Apple is one of the most diverse and one of the greatest companies that I’ve had the pleasure of working for,” the woman, who said her name was Amy, said.
    “I think a lot of retail people can agree … it’s not because of their colour or their race, large groups of students coming into stores can be questionable sometimes.”

  6. …Basically, you can’t say anything to anyone who is black/woman/transgender/conjoined twin without it being some sort of “ist”. Even if there is a reason to say it.

    We don’t know what these pillars of society did before they started filming, but well dressed people can steal too – no matter what skin color they have.

    My suspiction is that someone wanted them to go there and provoke the situation. Bad, bad Apple.

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