Melbourne, Australia – Through a company-wide e-mail, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) CEO Tim Cook rejected an incident that took place on Tuesday at the Apple Store located at the Highpoint shopping center in Melbourne, Australia, where six black high school students who were dressed in their school uniforms were asked to leave, as employees thought they might steal any item.

While the Somalian/Sudanese teenagers were being asked to leave the store, someone recorded a video from a smartphone and posted it on Facebook the same day, whereupon it went viral and became a trending subject of criticism.

“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,” wrote Tim Cook in the letter. Credit:

The students, who were from the Maribyrnong College, went back to the store on Wednesday with school’s principal Nick Scott to ask for an apology. Mr. Scott later commented it was not the first time his students were treated that way. Two weeks before the Apple store episode, they asked at the same shopping mall if they could try out a self-propelled scooter. The employee told them he could not let them try out due to legal restrictions.

As stated in Cook’s e-mail, Kate, one of the senior managers at the Highpoint store, expressed the students a sincere apology on behalf of the entire company and encouraged them to always feel welcome at the store in spite of the recent events. The company’s CEO pointed out how proud he felt for Kate’s behavior, inspiring Apple employees worldwide to replicate her attitude.

“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,” Cook wrote.

Moreover, he mentioned the diversity of the Apple Store Highpoint’s staff, saying that the team was constituted by coworkers from about 9 different countries. Altogether they speak 15 languages.

Tim Cook wrote he believed the incident was not part of an extensive problem within all Apple stores. However, he announced upcoming training on inclusion and customer engagement, starting in Australia, since customers represent their very reason to put so much effort in making the products and stores so unique.

The giant tech firm has been under scrutiny after a report they published in June, which reveals that only 8% of the workforce in the United States is black, compared to Hispanic (11%) and Asian (18%).

Source: The Telegraph