Apple investigated, took action against alleged sexism at Cupertino headquarters

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2016
In the shadow of this week's iPhone launch, surprise allegations of corporate sexism surfaced at Apple's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, though company executives say the situation was investigated and "actions have been taken."




Earlier this week, an expose from Mic revealed an email string between "about a dozen" female Apple employees who experienced or perceived discrimination and workplace harassment at the company's male-dominated campus.

At the story's core are tribulations experienced by one unnamed employee who, after overhearing what she believed to be a "rape joke," sent an email about the matter directly to CEO Tim Cook. The escalation came after Danielle (a pseudonym assigned to protect the employee's identity) lodged multiple formal complaints to management over similar alleged inappropriate acts.

A follow-up article from Gizmodo included excerpts of the email string, showing the joke in question pertained to the "Bed Intruder Song."

An internet meme that went went viral more than five years ago, the parody song based on a local TV news report about a home break-in and alleged attempted sexual assault. The broadcast package contained on-the-scene footage of the victim's brother, whose emotive interview was auto tuned and set to music.

Both Mic and Gizmodo outlined additional instances of perceived sexism, including an instance where one male employee told another it sounded like he was on his "man period."

Apple declined to respond to Mic's article, but human resources head Denise Young Smith sat down with Re/code on Friday to discuss the allegations.

"We take these things not just seriously, but personally," Young Smith said. "I have been grieved over this ... that someone may have had this kind of an experience."

Responding directly to the articles, Young Smith said the incidents described were investigated and "commensurate actions" were taken. The experiences are not indicative of Apple at large, she said, but noted both the company and individual employees can at times "fall short," according to the report.

Aside from remedial corporate action, Young Smith wants Apple to be a community in which coworkers are not afraid to call each other out when they feel uncomfortable.

"I don't think people are too shy about doing it, but I am also very cognizant that we are still 70/30 in our very hard-core engineering team. We have to be cognizant that someone may not feel that their voice is heard or valued," she said.

Building a support structure that enables women and people of color to speak out is a priority, the report said. However, Young Smith is now concerned that the women-at-Apple email list, the source of both Mic and Gizmodo articles, has been compromised. With more than 1,000 individuals subscribed, the mailing list is an important hub for people to share their experiences as Apple employees, both good and bad.

"We cannot risk losing that," she said. "We have to have a safe place for people to do that."

Young Smith is planning to send out a personal note to the group discussing the recent events.

Like many Silicon Valley tech firms, Apple has come under scrutiny for running a predominantly white male corporate workforce. The company famously touts inclusion as one of is main tenets, and has been largely transparent in sharing progress updates on ongoing workplace diversity efforts.

In August, Apple published the latest "Inclusion & Diversity" report showing positive, albeit slight, changes toward reaching an equilibrium. As of June, the company was comprised of 68 percent male and 32 percent female employees.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 57
    A follow-up article from Gizmodo 

    Ah, good to see they're continuing the smears in Gawker's absence. 


    I'm sure they'll make a safe space for all these people at Apple HQ. Bozo explosion in full effect, sorry Steve. 

    tallest skiltmaywilliamhmonstrositycali
  • Reply 2 of 57
    Fire all of these special snowflakes and disgusting lunatics with mental issues that get triggered by every slightest thing.

    SJWS are among the weakest and most pathetic breed of humans to have ever existed. 

    SJWS should never be hired in the first place, if one is looking for good and productive employees that will actually excel at their jobs.


    tallest skilwilliamhmacseekergtrmonstrosity
  • Reply 3 of 57
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,000member
    So now Mike Daisey has new material for another Apple hit piece, right? “Females don’t feel safe working at Apple". I can see the headline in tomorrow’s NYT. The gotcha culture in action.
    edited September 2016 watto_cobraSpamSandwich
  • Reply 4 of 57
    levilevi Posts: 343member
    apple ][ said:
    Fire all of these special snowflakes and disgusting lunatics with mental issues that get triggered by every slightest thing.

    SJWS are among the weakest and most pathetic breed of humans to have ever existed. 

    SJWS should never be hired in the first place, if one is looking for good and productive employees that will actually excel at their jobs.


    That's funny, I read that executives took action - which suggests the complaints had merit. 
    baconstangwaverboydysamoriasphericsingularityfrbauer
  • Reply 5 of 57
    levilevi Posts: 343member
    lkrupp said:
    So now Mike Daisey has new material for another Apple hit piece, right? “Females don’t feel safe working at Apple". I can see the headline in tomorrow’s NYT. The gotcha culture in action.
    Did this happen? No. Nicd projection.
    baconstangwaverboyfrbauer
  • Reply 6 of 57
    Much ado about nothing. If you are so hyper-sensitive you shouldn't be working. Take whatever your new slave master - democrat party overlord - throws your way and be happy.
  • Reply 7 of 57
    levi said:
    lkrupp said:
    So now Mike Daisey has new material for another Apple hit piece, right? “Females don’t feel safe working at Apple". I can see the headline in tomorrow’s NYT. The gotcha culture in action.
    Did this happen? No. Nicd projection.
    I prefer NiMH myself, or better yet, LiON.
    tallest skildysamoriacali
  • Reply 8 of 57
    "about a dozen" female Apple employees who experienced or perceived discrimination and workplace harassment at the company's male-dominated campus.
    The male sexism goes unnoticed, I imagine.

    levi said:
    That's funny, I read that executives took action - which suggests the complaints had merit. 
    Sounds awfully like an appeal to authority to me. Rather, an appeal to virtue signaling.
    apple ][uraharaasdasdcali
  • Reply 9 of 57
    I am glad you have grieved!   Is that a bottle of wine and a fireplace?   How about doing something?   Old Guard must go.   Old school frat house.

    They have a safe place to talk about what is going on but Old Guard just sits idle collecting RSU's!

    Get a clue Smith!
  • Reply 10 of 57
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,543member
    On one hand, these are jokes. On the other hand, people feel uncomfortable. 

    Some people take things too seriously or even out of context. But then others go too far. 

    No one should be a target of harassment. I wish people can tell each other "this is not cool". 
    waverboytmayfotoformatpropodcwingravbulk001uraharaartharg
  • Reply 11 of 57
    Already predictable responses here from two particularly intolerant and antisocial members of this "community" (and some new ones). What else is there to expect from a tech-oriented forum full of mostly privileged males, moderated by same? Certainly not a lot of empathy for fellow human beings. That's like some kind of social faux pas these days. The fact that someone thinks the term "social justice" is a bad thing really screams a lot about their emotional capacity and social skills. Flame away, dude bros and "Nice Guys™". Surely your issues are caused entirely by an oversensitive populous and not by your antisocial backwards behavior.
    fochermainyehcmontrosemacssingularitybulk001
  • Reply 12 of 57
    dysamoria said:
    Already predictable responses here from two particularly intolerant and antisocial members of this "community" (and some new ones). What else is there to expect from a tech-oriented forum full of mostly privileged males, moderated by same? Certainly not a lot of empathy for fellow human beings. That's like some kind of social faux pas these days. The fact that someone thinks the term "social justice" is a bad thing really screams a lot about their emotional capacity and social skills. Flame away, dude bros and "Nice Guys™". Surely your issues are caused entirely by an oversensitive populous and not by your antisocial backwards behavior.
    What?
    Cannot tell if trolling.
    tallest skilstrobeasdasd
  • Reply 13 of 57
    dysamoria said:
    …mostly privileged males…
    Learn what words mean before you use them.
    "social justice" is a bad thing
    Can’t imagine why anyone would think that marxist claptrap is bad. It certainly didn’t kill a hundred million people or anything.
    an oversensitive populous
    You’re legitimately insane. That’s exactly what culture has become.
    williamhapple ][sirlance99bestkeptsecretgtrurahara
  • Reply 14 of 57
    levi said:
    apple ][ said:
    Fire all of these special snowflakes and disgusting lunatics with mental issues that get triggered by every slightest thing.

    SJWS are among the weakest and most pathetic breed of humans to have ever existed. 

    SJWS should never be hired in the first place, if one is looking for good and productive employees that will actually excel at their jobs.


    That's funny, I read that executives took action - which suggests the complaints had merit. 
    I can tell you have zero experience in the corporate world. 
    anantksundaramgtrurahara
  • Reply 15 of 57
    waverboy said:
    Charming, the douche-bros are here on cue, largely the same group as the homophobes that crawl out every once in a while.  Do you guys stick to being rape jokers in the workplace, or do you venture out a bit and do some tit gazing and ass slapping?
    Funny. I only have three of them in my "known" list but there are apparently five of them. Someone is lurking.

    Must really kill them that an empathetic human being is running Apple now and actively promoting social causes - not just personally but creating a culture within Apple for those causes. 

    levi said:
    apple ][ said:
    Fire all of these special snowflakes and disgusting lunatics with mental issues that get triggered by every slightest thing.

    SJWS are among the weakest and most pathetic breed of humans to have ever existed. 

    SJWS should never be hired in the first place, if one is looking for good and productive employees that will actually excel at their jobs.


    That's funny, I read that executives took action - which suggests the complaints had merit. 
    I can tell you have zero experience in the corporate world. 
    Yeah, not like those moron executives in Apple's management team. I mean, "anonymous Internet misogynist" obviously knows more than the ones running the biggest company in the world.
    edited September 2016 mainyehcsingularitydysamoria
  • Reply 16 of 57
    footer said:
    misogynist
    I’d like to bring a challenge to your hypothesis.
    apple ][cali
  • Reply 17 of 57
    LOL, just by looking at the title one could have predicted everything in this thread. 

    I hope to never work at a place where my humor is so closely scrutinized for wrongthink. Nothing more demeaning than being called a Bad Person™ for not carrying water for the trendy politics of the day. God help us. 
    thewhitefalconapple ][cali
  • Reply 18 of 57
    It seems here ( and almost everywhere else) it's always black or white. Too sensitive to everything or insensitive to everything. Social justice refers to an equal balance between society and the individual person. It doesn't have to mean Marxism or murder. Like, my roommate doesn't like my taste in music, so when I feel like listening to something loud, I put on my headphones (or slip some fentanyl in his coffee...) no one suffers or dies. I also see the difference from a remark made in passing to someone (male period, sort of funny) and something actually aimed to offend. Too many variables for generalizations. Now, get the flock off my lawn, ya rotten kids.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 19 of 57
    I just read her email to Tim Cook. She's a bit too sensitive. Not feeling safe at Apple because of the quotes from a song is a bit much. When did we get so scared so often?
    It's not that dangerous out there. But still, off my lawn. NOW!
    cali
  • Reply 20 of 57
    jonco said:
    I just read her email to Tim Cook. She's a bit too sensitive. Not feeling safe at Apple because of the quotes from a song is a bit much. When did we get so scared so often?
    It's not that dangerous out there. But still, off my lawn. NOW!
    Another approach is to consider her perspective instead of just injecting your own. Personally, if I made a comment and a female colleague complained about it I would hope that instead of becoming defensive that it's just her issue to address by becoming "less sensitive", I might learn to be a bit more considerate before saying certain things.

    There were plenty of people in the 1960s who had to adjust to not using the word "boy" to refer to black men, not because they personally meant offense but because they had not grown up understanding the demeaning aspect of the term. Or how about the use of the term "fag" 20 years ago to refer to a friend. Or today, calling someone a "retard". Times change, and many of us learn to unlearn what we grew up with instead of accusing the recipient of needing to just get over it.

    For those that won't change, well Steve Jobs made the point well in his Stanford commencement speech. Death is the ultimate change agent.
    dysamoriaanome
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