Apple, like much of the tech industry, has been criticized for a perceived lack of diversity in its leadership ranks. The recent unveiling of the company's new iPhone provided a very prominent opportunity for Apple to demonstrate that its commitment to diversity is more than just lip service. It was, according to Mic, a missed opportunity. However, it was in response to Mic's story that Apple's PR department really stepped in it — sending a tone-deaf email insisting that the piece was misguided and that the iPhone 7 launch was diverse because, among other factors, there was a Canadian on stage.
Mic primarily took aim at the lack of speaking roles for women at this year's keynote event, noting that while men spoke for over 99 minutes women were allowed merely 8. Calling Apple out on this discrepancy apparently angered an unnamed employee of the company, who wrote to the post's author to argue that the Apple event was, in fact, diverse.
"What I find misguided about your piece is that you provide only one way to look at the issue," wrote the PR rep. "By your measure, we will keep failing until we have a female CEO AND head of marketing who would admittedly own larger portions of the program. There was a lot of diversity on that stage that you don't recognize."
And just what type of diversity was that, exactly?
"Unrecognized by you," the email continued, "was the fact that we had a gay man, two African-Americans (Instagram and Nike), a Canadian and a British woman, Hannah Catmur."
Interestingly, the email began with the words "off the record." However, as Mic points out (and as those of you who feel like chatting with reporters should probably keep in mind), a conversation is only off the record if both sides agree in advance. Simply stating something is off the record doesn't make it so — a fact which, as an Apple employee emailing a reporter, this unnamed person should have known.
It was just earlier this year that Apple officially rejected a shareholder call for increased diversity among the company's "senior management and board of directors." The logic at the time, according to Apple, was that "the proposal [was] unduly burdensome and not necessary because Apple has demonstrated to shareholders its commitment to inclusion and diversity, which are core values for our company."
The official diversity measure wasn't needed because everyone already knew the company cared about diversity, the argument went. That, according to Mic, 72 percent of Apple's leadership is male and 67 percent is white suggests perhaps that not everyone at the company got the message.
Perhaps they were distracted by $159 wireless headphones.