Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Mic: ‘Leaked Apple Emails Reveal Employees’ Complaints About Sexist, Toxic Work Environment’

Melanie Ehrenkranz, Mic:1

According to Apple’s most recent diversity report, women make up 32% of its global workforce. About a dozen of those women joined Danielle on a recent email thread, shared with Mic by an Apple employee, in which they commiserated on their experiences working in a company dominated by men. The thread included stories of discrimination and workplace harassment and was sparked after another Apple employee shared Danielle’s experience in an attempt to galvanize the necessary support to mobilize and enact change.

This thread is just one part of over 50 pages of emails obtained by Mic from current and former Apple employees.

There are several users on Hacker News who claim to be Apple employees, and that the specific complaint that “Danielle” (not her real name) raised was to an inappropriate reference, for which the offender apologized. There are plenty of other incidents in this article that appear far more serious:

Claire* said that she faced retaliation from her male colleagues for reporting them. According to Claire, when someone finally came in to investigate the issue of the harassment she reported up, Apple admitted to her that she was in a hostile work environment. But instead of working to ameliorate her situation, she said, the company gave her a choice: stay in the position or take a lower ranking, lower paying job on another team.

Claire took the demotion.

Brianna Wu says that she’s heard similar stories as well.

The craziest part of reading an article like this is that it feels all too familiar. The culture of Silicon Valley is such that these sorts of experiences and reports are depressingly common. That’s deeply troubling.

All of the major tech firms need to do better, but Apple — in particular — says that they stand for more than this. They should back that up with meaningful action. A little bit of empathy for those taking issue with these incidents would go a long way.

Update: Rebecca Slatkin on Twitter:

[The] way I summarize this issue: it takes certain type of woman to survive in this industry and it shouldn’t.

Well said.

  1. Mic has a website that’s even worse than iMore’s. Hundreds of HTTP requests, nearly 10 MB of transferred data, and a load time of nearly 13 seconds on my broadband connection. Lots of email prompts, autoplaying video ads, and page takeover garbage complete the experience. ↩︎