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Tim Cook in company-wide email: Melbourne Apple Store incident “unacceptable”


Apple CEO Tim Cook sent an email to all of the company’s employees today addressing the situation at Apple’s Melbourne, Australia store that saw a group of teens booted from the outlet by management due to their race. The incident was captured in a video that appeared online this week.

In the email, which bore the subject line “Apple is open,” Cook calls the handling of the situation “unacceptable” and says that no one in Apple’s leadership was happy about what happened. He also said that store leadership teams worldwide would be required to re-take certain customer service training.

The CEO states in the message that the actions of the employee in Melbourne do not reflect Apple’s core values and expressed once again that the company is “open to people from all walks of life, regardless of race or religion, gender or sexual orientation, age, disability, income, language or point of view.”

He closed by reiterating the company’s committment to respect for its customers.

The employee and manager involved in the incident have both apologized to the students. The full email is included below, via BuzzFeed.


I’m sure you are all aware of the unacceptable incident which took place at our store at the Highpoint shopping center in Melbourne, Australia, on Tuesday. Several young men, who are students at a nearby school, had been asked by a security guard to leave the store. In an attempt to address the situation, one of our store employees gave an answer which shocked many of us.

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. Our employee immediately expressed his regret and apologized to the students.

None of us are happy with the way this was handled. But we can all be proud of Kate, one of the senior managers at the Highpoint store.

On Wednesday, she greeted the same group of students to express a heartfelt apology on behalf of our store and our company. She reassured these young men that they and their fellow classmates would always be welcome at our store. The school’s principal later told a reporter that she delivered her message “with good grace,” and one of the students said, “It feels like we have justice now.”

Her words that day echoed a message you’ve heard many times from me and from Angela. It’s a simple pledge we all make to our customers and to ourselves:

Apple is open.

Our stores and our hearts are open to people from all walks of life, regardless of race or religion, gender or sexual orientation, age, disability, income, language or point of view. All across our company, being inclusive and embracing our differences makes our products better and our stores stronger.

The Apple Store Highpoint is staffed by people who share these values and illustrate our commitment to diversity. The team is made up of coworkers from Australia, as well as Egypt, Italy, India and five other nations. Collectively they speak 15 languages, including Urdu, Portuguese, Arabic and Mandarin.

While I firmly believe that this was an isolated incident rather than a symptom of a broader problem in our stores, we will use this moment as an opportunity to learn and grow. Our store leadership teams around the world, starting in Australia, will be refreshing their training on inclusion and customer engagement. These are concepts and practices they know well, but can always stand to reinforce.

Respect for our customers is the foundation of everything we do at Apple. It’s the reason we put so much care into the design of our products. It’s the reason we make our stores beautiful and inviting, and extend their reach to benefit the communities around them. It’s the reason we commit ourselves to enriching people’s lives.

Thank you all for your dedication to Apple, to our values, and to the customers we are so very fortunate to serve.


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  1. virtualstorm - 7 years ago

    I really think they should be fired.
    This is not about having a training course to tell you that you shouldn’t be racist. Really You need a course for that??

    • iosecure - 7 years ago

      “one of our store employees gave an answer which shocked many of us.”

      oh trust me, hes fired.. they just won’t publicly say it.

    • rnc - 7 years ago

      Shouldn’t he be also be killed in an electric chair?

      And all his family?

    • mytawalbeh - 7 years ago

      People do make mistakes and I think they should be punished. But they should be forgiven and given the opportunity for a second chance. We are human beings.

    • Roman Ticker - 7 years ago

      What the heck? The Apple employees acted correctly in my opinion. When a group of 5 young men aged 15-16 enter a store, of course there is a higher probability that they might steal something or act in a disruptive way. And when those young men have these particular migration backgrounds, there is an even higher probability that they might steal something or act in a disruptive way. Simple statistics, no apologies necessary. They might want to enter the store one by one next time to avoid such incidents.

      • Milorad Ivović - 7 years ago

        Yes, how dare people of a particular ethnicity be friends with each other, and enjoy discussing their tech wishlists. If a particular ethnicity is more likely to commit a crime, it’s OBVIOUSLY perfectly fine to just assume everyone else of that ethnicity is also a criminal.

  2. Tim should fly over and personally give each boy a host of Apple products: MacBook, iPad, and Watch.

    • Brian H Lewis - 7 years ago

      That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard today. And I’ve heard quite a bit. School kids kicked out of a store does not warrant free goodies.

      • lycius84 - 7 years ago

        It’s only 5 kids. That amount of items is nothing to Apple (considering how much it cost them to make them). This is not just a case of kids being kicked out of a store because kids are loud and sometimes destroy property. They were discriminated and therefore kicked out. That alone could be a lawsuit.

  3. kjl3000 - 7 years ago

    This is one of the results of Apples shift to become a luxury brand with 10k gold watches etc… Targeting rich customers and leaving the “rest” behind, where obviously some ethnic groups not only seem to be no potential customers, but even worse, seen as thiefs. It’s the beginning of the end, Apple.

    • kjl3000 - 7 years ago

      P.S.: I’m pretty sure these kids wouldn’t be let into a Burberry store, too. Right, Angela Ahrendts?

    • Joaquim Inverno - 7 years ago

      Don’t be deluded, the watch cost between $350 and $17K, the more expensive models are kept in safes and aren’t as easily accessible as other products, it’s not like they keep the gold watches around the store for you to play with, thus your argument is not valid, plus and Apple has always been a premium brand.

      If you feel left out, it’s not because of Apple, we don’t exactly know what the kids were doing, but even if they were acting a certain way, it’s still pretty bad and the store employees were wrong for doing what they did, regardless of anything, it’s inspiring to see the CEO of Apple come forward and write this e-mail.

      • kjl3000 - 7 years ago

        I didn’t say “premium”, I said “luxury”. My point is, that Apple no longer offers one product for everyone for the same price (except differences for technical options like upgraded memory etc), but now builds products that differ in options that only serve as status symbols (like the gold option). So now, for the first time, Apple un-equals its customers and separates them by their wealth, and this is what worries me. I don’t feel left out, I just don’t know if Apple is still the brand I loved for many years for being focused on delivering the best products in the world for everyone without dividing them into classes! And this is exactly what happened in Melbourne! I believe no Apple exec wanted this to happen, but that store manager, who prefers to sell a golden Apple watch to wealthy customers instead of an iPod shuffle to some kids is already building up strategies for that, and maybe one strategy was to avoid certain people in his store to get other people in who don’t want to mix up with them… this is why I hate Apple’s luxury roadmap.

  4. calisurfboy - 7 years ago

    I’m confused. How is this racist? Did he call them ni**ers or the equivalent in Australia? I understand being discriminatory towards teenagers, I have one right now and the things he does, as well as his friends, are appalling. Look at all the Youtube videos posted by teenagers going into Apple stores stealing merchandise, breaking display models, and other dumb activities. I had to ban my teenagers friends from coming over after they introduced me to something called “slap cam.”

  5. Dan (@danmdan) - 7 years ago

    Noisy teenagers in any store are both a nuisance and a security guard’s nightmare to watch and control. Let us not get too emotional about this incident.

    If the store person made racist remarks it is wrong – big time; but if there was a behaviour problem and they were told to leave it is not wrong. I have a feeling there is more to this incident than we know at present.

    • Elmore Leonard - 7 years ago

      The issue is not that they were asked to leave, every store has a right to ask someone to leave if they are causing a disruption, it’s the fact that he said they were concerned they might steal something. Why would he make that remark? They looked like they were dressed in school uniforms. The only thing that we can assume based on this was that they were black. This would mean that the employee was racially profiling them, which is totally unacceptable.

  6. vertsub2015 - 7 years ago

    Lol racism in Australia? Never…