Apple responds to "sexist" and "toxic" workplace allegations

Apple says "actions have been taken" after (unconfirmed) leaked emails and chat logs show specific instances of sexism in the workplace.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor

Apple says "actions have been taken," following leaked emails discussing a sexist and toxic work environment within the walls of the tech giant's Cupertino, CA. headquarters.

Recode sat down with Apple HR chief Denise Young Smith, who said Apple investigated and took action on the troubling issues raised in the leaks, but that they didn't reflect the Apple she knows.

Earlier this week, Mic published a series of emails discussing the environment at Apple. Female workers detailed a "very toxic atmosphere" created by jokes about sexual assault.

"Rape jokes in work chat is basically where I completely draw the limit," an anonymous female worker wrote to Apple CEO Tim Cook in an email obtained by Mic. "I do not feel safe at a company that tolerates individuals who make rape jokes."

The Apple employee didn't receive a response from Cook.

"We take these things not just seriously, but personally," said Young Smith in an interview in the atrium of 1 Infinite Loop with Recode. "I have been grieved over this ... that someone may have had this kind of an experience."

Gizmodo also published unconfirmed internal chat logs from Apple, where more sexual assault jokes were shared.

"Commensurate actions have been taken," Young Smith said, but didn't detail what action may have taken place against responsible employees.

We have reached out to Apple for more details.

"Apple is committed to treating everyone with dignity and respect," Apple said in a statement to Gizmodo. "When we receive complaints or hear that employees are concerned about their work environment, we take it very seriously and we investigate claims thoroughly. If we find behavior to be at odds with our values, we take action. Out of respect for the privacy of our employees, we do not discuss specific matters or their resolution."

Apple's "Inclusion & Diversity" report released in August detail Apple was comprised of 68 percent male and 32 percent female employees, as of June. Apple, like many other companies in Silicon Valley, has made a big push towards a more diverse workforce.

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