Apple Store under fire after 'racist' treatment of teens

Nov 11, 2015 at 12:45 p.m. ET
Image: Eric Thayer / Stringer / Getty Images

A group of Australian school boys are claiming that they were turned away from the Apple Store in Highpoint Shopping Centre in the suburb of Maribyrnong, Melbourne, on Tuesday because of the colour of their skin.

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The six boys, Petrie, Mabior, Mohamed, Ese, Abdulahi and Gereng, who, according to Mashable, are between the ages of 15 and 16, claim they were treated in an intimidating way by staff at the store because of their race. The boys filmed and uploaded to Facebook the last part of the incident, in which an Apple employee is heard telling them that he is worried "they might steal something" and has to "ask them to leave the store."

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"It was just really offensive when he said, 'We are afraid you are going to steal something.' It was shocking. It was racism," Ese told Mashable. "He didn't even give us a chance."

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There are a lot of people who are clearly disappointed with the video, with comments including, "This must be reported and taken further"; "Do old racist people realise how underdeveloped their brains are. You sound uneducated and look like an idiot. #FindKnowledge"; and "Tbh I would take it further, racism is not excused they still meant it. & who knows if they won't try this on another black teen."

However, an Apple spokesperson did tell Mashable that they are looking into what happened and that diversity is very important to the company, which they echoed with a quote from Apple CEO Tim Cook.

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The quote reads, "We want every person who joins our team, every customer visiting our stores or calling for support to feel welcome. We believe in equality for everyone, regardless of race, age, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. That applies throughout our company, around the world with no exceptions."

Are you surprised by this incident? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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