On Tuesday, a group of African students took to social media to express their outrage after an Apple employee barred them from a store in Melbourne, Australia. The whole incident was captured in a video that one of the students, Francis Ose, posted to Facebook. In the video, the Apple employee refuses to tell the students why they can't enter the store at first, but after a few second he admits it's becuase they "might steal something."
The students are shocked. "What makes you think we're going to steal something?" they ask, to which the Apple employee simply replies, "this conversation is over." After the video went viral Apple released a statement condemning the employee's actions, but for CEO Tim Cook, that wasn't enough. To ensure that blatant racial profiling doesn't happen on his watch, Cook sent an email to every Apple employee saying that starting in Australia, teams would receive a refresher course in inclusion and customer engagement:
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.
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.
In the email, Cook also commends the Melbourne store's manager, Kate, for "expressing a heartfelt apology" to the students when they returned with their principal the next day. The students' principal later told a reporter that, "it feels like we have justice now."