Apple recently came under fire after a Melbourne employee wrongly ejected six black students from an Apple store.
Last week, six Maribyrnong College students from were confronted by an Apple security guard at the store in Highpoint shopping center. What followed next caught them all off guard: they were asked to leave the store. When they questioned the security guard about the reason, his response was, “They’re just a bit worried you might steal something”. Naturally, the students were shocked, as it was very apparent that they were being racially profiled.
Apple stores are great places for Apple enthusiasts, young as well as old, to interact with products, buy devices, and learn about technology. They are open spaces that are carefully constructed to showcase Apple’s lifestyle brand, and are open to anyone who wants to interact directly with Apple products. Upon hearing about the interaction, the students’ principal Nick Scott had this to say: “What those boys were doing in that Apple store was no different to what every other kid does in that Apple store, which is fawning over really cool devices, playing with them, taking photos of each other,” he said. “Just kids being kids and certainly being no different to quite a few other kids at the time.”
The entire altercation was caught on video by one of the students involved, who then went and posted the video to Facebook. The video soon went viral, and was picked up by numerous news outlets like CBS News and The New York Times. Soon enough, Apple CEO Tim Cook got word of the incident, and released his thoughts in a company-wide email. Published by Buzzfeed, Cook said in his email: “What people have seen and heard from watching the video on the web does not represent our values. It is not a message we would ever want to deliver to a customer or hear ourselves.”
On top of this, a senior manager at the High Point Apple Store invited the boys and their principal back to the store for an in-person apology. “It feels like we have justice now,” said one of the students.