Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Apple Hires Antonio García Martínez

Lara O’Reilly, Insider:

Apple recently hired Antonio García Martínez, a former Facebook ads-product manager and the author of “Chaos Monkeys,” to join its product-engineering team for ad platforms, another sign of the technology giant’s growing ambitions in the advertising space.

García Martínez joined Apple in April and will work out of Cupertino, California, according to his LinkedIn profile. Apple’s ad-platforms team works on the technology that powers ads within the App Store and the Apple News and Stocks apps.

How did this happen? García Martínez is a walking pile of red flags. Longtime readers of this website may remember that name from the handful of times I have pointed to his narcissistic and obtuse commentary, but that is barely scratching the surface. He previously worked at Facebook; before that, he worked for Goldman Sachs. Those are the corporate ethics he is bringing to Apple’s advertising team.

When he left Facebook, he wrote a book. Sophie Kleeman mined it for quotes for Gizmodo, adding this disclaimer:

Before we launch into it, however, an important note: Martinez delights in describing the bad behavior and questionable conduct of places like Facebook, but he’s guilty of exactly the same kind of dickishness. His treatment of women is particularly awful — he describes women in the Bay Area as “soft and weak” with “self-regarding entitlement feminism” — and the book is peppered with casual homophobia and misogyny. (A nice example from page 33: “Whether it be a Breathalyzer or a banana, you can’t make eye contact with a man while going down on something. It’s too weird.”) It’s also worth pointing out that the book isn’t solely devoted to Martinez’s time at Facebook — a good chunk deals with his tenure at other assorted Silicon Valley entities.

Kleeman was not exaggerating; the book is packed full of sexist remarks and an often one-dimensional view of women. In an interview with Kara Swisher of Recode, García Martínez demanded those remarks be put into a fuller context — and it is even worse:

García Martínez So this is about the woman that had my children, and I’m, you know, I’m sort of praising her.

Swisher The British woman.

García Martínez The British trader.

Swisher Right.

García Martínez “She had wild green eyes with natural red spots in her irises when you pulled close, reminiscent of that Afghan girl from the National Geographic cover. Her personality was flinty and rough and as leathery as her skin. She had spent years between various jobs, backpacking around the rougher parts of the world. She was an imposing broad-shouldered presence. Six feet tall on bare feet and towering over me in heels. Most women in the Bay Area are soft and weak, cosseted and naive despite their claims of worldliness, and generally full of shit. They have their self-regarding entitlement feminism and ceaselessly want their independence, but the reality is come the epidemic plague or foreign invasion, they become precisely the sort of useless baggage you trade for a box of shotgun shells or a jerrycan of diesel.” And this is the important thing to put into context! I am contrasting this broad overgeneralization to the reality of the woman that I was falling in love with, okay?

He did not leave that misogyny in Silicon Valley. A year after his book was published, he got into a heated argument with Heidi N. Moore and sent her a cruel email after she blocked him on Twitter.

This was around the time he went full survivalist off the coast of Seattle, saying that “in the post-America, the 5.56 millimetre round will be the currency of the new America”. He has also made comments dismissive of privacy.

I am sure García Martínez is not the only person at Apple who has beliefs like these, but it is hard to reconcile such a high-profile hire with the company’s values. I wonder how employees there are feeling about working alongside or for someone who has so explicitly admitted that in a pandemic — like the one we are currently in — he thinks of them as “useless baggage” that he would trade for ammunition. Also, I wonder how Apple could consider him a good fit for a company that really does promote social justice and equity.

Employees have begun circulating a petition about his hiring. García Martínez did not reply to my request for a comment.

Update: Mark Gurman on Twitter:

Antonio García Martínez, a newly hired engineer on Apple’s ads team, is gone from Apple after employee backlash regarding sexist comments he made in his book Chaos Monkeys, company says. Employees have been incredibly angry about his hire and questioned Apple’s hiring practices.

Gurman also posted a tweet-length statement from Apple. This response still leaves unanswered questions about why he was hired in the first place.

Karl Bode:

[A]nyway, I look forward to the next few days being filled with people conflating accountability for being an ass with unwarranted “cancellation”

I am exhausted just thinking about it. If you write a book full of sexist comments, you do not get to be surprised when there are consequences.