Apple is well known as a diverse and LGBTQ-friendly company, with even its CEO Tim Cook and many staff attending San Francisco’s annual Gay Parade, days after Mr Cook was “accidentally outed” on a CNBC TV report.
So it comes as a surprise to see an Apple customer who self identifies as “queer” having an email address of “[email protected]
/* */” inserted into a store receipt after refusing to give his real email address during the in-store purchase process.
The customer is Adam Gregory Cantazarite, who posted on his main Facebook page and then in a separate Facebook post of his disappointment at being so labelled.
Mr Cantazarite’s Facebook post explains: “So here’s a thing. I got called a [email protected] by an #Apple employee here in #Portland. The store manager did not do what he said he would to rectify the situation, so now I feel it is important to share the story.
“Being queer and having worked with queer youth, I know first-hand that this is an example of the type of #homophobic beliefs and actions that lead young people to harm themselves. This type of action is NOT OKAY, especially from a company that prides itself on being LGBTQ inclusive and welcoming.
“My friends, I please ask that you like this status or share it with your networks to let them know that #homophobia does not have a place in PDX (or anywhere) and that you reconsider where you spend your money. Perhaps the #Applestore is not so deserving”, concluded Mr Cantazarite on his main Facebook page post.
The second Facebook post is several paragraphs, but concludes by saying:
“The manager also gave me a gift card to the apple store (which felt reminiscent of the time when the driver who hit me (a pedestrian) with her car asked me if I wanted a ride home). I gave the gift-card away because I did not find value in being bought out and I had no interest in returning to the store again.”
“Due to the policies of the organization, I will not know the intent of the individual who put in [email protected]
/* */ as my email address. It is possible that this could have been made in error, but the impact of the action remains the same.”
“The employee who entered [email protected]
/* */ should not be fired (take a minute to let that settle in if you need to), but should be given an opportunity to learn about the impact of the use of the word fag and how these words impact the individuals who have been oppressed by them. Apple should give this employee an opportunity to get the resources they need to better serve their customers. Othering individuals is not helpful in enacting social justice, since it is the fear of being seen at the other that leads people to harmful actions in the first place.”
“If Apple is committed to their queer identified employees and their customers (as they claim to be), then this is the perfect opportunity to show that commitment”, ended Mr Catanzarite’s Facebook post.
The episode is a clear warning for employers to ensure staff are welcoming to all customers no matter their sexual, political, religious or other legal preferences, and that a social media scandal can very quickly and easily erupt – even to the world’s biggest tech company.
It’s also a plea for common sense and to treat others the way you would like to be treated yourself.
As famous singer Kamahl says, why can’t we all just get along?
Adam Gregory Cantazarite’s Facebook page is here, and his separate Facebook post on the issue is here.