Apple emails reveal 'sexist' complaints of 'toxic & oppressive environment'

Apple emails reveal 'sexist' complaints of 'toxic & oppressive environment'

A leaked internal memo from tech giant Apple has revealed a number of staff complaints which paint the picture of a “sexist, toxic” work environment.

According to, over 50 pages of emails, obtained by news site Mic, show female employees detailing the troubles they face while working in a “white, male, Christian, misogynist, sexist environment”.

Email threads contain allegations of apparent discrimination and harassment at Apple, in which women make up 32% of the overall workforce.

One complaint by a female engineer described how her co-worker’s upsetting comments urged her to seek out Apple CEO Tim Cook. She wrote to him: “Rape jokes in work chat is basically where I completely draw the limit.

“I do not feel safe at a company that tolerates individuals who make rape jokes.” According to the publication, the woman did not receive a response to her complaint.

Another employee reportedly emailed the HR department with what she described as a “plea for help”, following a meeting where she was the only woman in a room of twelve men.

“The conversation turned to all of the men being dismissive about their wives and their significant others,” she wrote.

“I felt very uncomfortable of the reality that I was the only woman in the room as all of my male co-workers stereotyped women as nags and this was not countered by my manager as being inappropriate.”

Other incidents included men asking their female colleagues to “smile”, alleging that they “weren’t technical” and being passed over for promotion in favour of men.

“White male privilege runs unchecked,” explained one woman. “The worst part is, you don’t know who to trust and who you can reach out to without continued harassment and retaliation. I am beyond discouraged and disheartened at my treatment and the lack of follow-up.”

Mic reports that when it got too much for one female employee, they eventually handed in their notice along with a memo explaining why they felt forced to quit.

“With such love for a company that does so much good, it is with a heavy heart that I declare my resignation from Apple,” she wrote.

“Despite all attempts to seek justice within this corporation, the cries of several minority employees about the toxic and oppressive environment have gone unanswered.

“I have witnessed the complete and utter disenfranchising of the voices of men and women of colour and the fault lies not only in the direct management staff but in the response of those tasked with protecting employee rights.”

In other news, HR Grapevine recently reported on the media furore surrounding comments made by Saatchi & Saatchi’s Executive Chairman, Kevin Roberts – and why it’s necessary for HR to implement a more rigorous anti-sexism development programme. 


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