Some news came out of Apple today when The Verge reported that the tech giant had fired an employee after the company received considerable internal hand-wringing about the guy’s previously published attitudes toward women in the workplace and specifically within Silicon Valley. The company issued a statement on the ouster and gave some details about what led to the decision. It continues a path of various organizations aligning societal values within their current corporate structure and is unlikely to be the last we hear about this particular case.
The Apple employee in question is Antonio Garcia Martinez who had begun working at the company at the beginning of May. It didn’t take long for the hiring to begin an internal dialogue among other employees who were concerned about the message being sent in the move to bring Martinez on board. Specifically cited was Martinez’s book Chaos Monkeys which was published in 2016. In the book, Martinez recounts his time spent in a variety of different workplaces but also had some specific feelings about women in the workplace.
It was these views, which some deemed misogynistic, that caught the attention of Apple employees and they ended up speaking up in the form of a letter sent to the company. In it, they expressed frustration and concern over Martinez’s hiring that it didn’t align with the core values of the company. In his book, Martinez is quoted as saying, “…most women in the Bay Area are soft and weak…” before going into more description on the overall gestalt of the female he’s met in his time there.
According to The Verge in their reporting, more than 2,000 Apple employees signed the petition calling for Martinez’s ouster from the company saying they were “deeply concerned” with the hiring in general and that Apple wouldn’t have vetted some of these ideas in the initial onboarding process. Whether they knew and didn’t care or simply weren’t aware of some of his stances ahead of time isn’t totally clear. Regardless, they released a message on Thursday that his employment with the company had been terminated.
In addition to coming under fire for their hiring practices, Apple is currently embroiled in a legal fight with Epic Games over the game Fortnite after the latter was kicked out of the App Store. It kicked off a fight between the two companies over the gaming company’s apparent subversion of Apple’s payment processing when it comes to in-app games. It’s set to rewrite some of the rules around game development going forward. The tech giant also made news when a new prompt for Facebook and other apps could end up costing the latter billions if users opt-out of remarketing.
There’s some chance this latest dust-up over possible ill-advised hiring of someone with views that conflict with the core values of Apple ends up blowing over. Removing Martinez from their employment roll was the first step. Though with these things, even an apology and a mea culpa is rarely the end of the line for the controversy. We could see the company further dive into their hiring practices moving forward.