Leaked Emails Allege ‘Toxic’ Environment of Sexism at Apple

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Photo: Ryan Anson/AFP/Getty Images

In an series of emails recently leaked to Mic’s Melanie Ehrenkranz, several current and former Apple employees (mostly female) have been sharing stories of alleged sexism and discrimination they faced while working at the company. The stories discussed in the emails range from rape jokes, to feeling uncomfortable as the only woman working on an entire office floor, to being told to smile. (An oldie, but a goodie.)

According to Ehrenkranz, the stories come from over 50 internal Apple emails collected by Mic. “I do not feel safe at a company that tolerates individuals who make rape jokes,” one woman wrote in an email she allegedly sent to Apple CEO Tim Cook to no response. Another woman, Mic reports, says she was asked if she was “technical” as an interview question for a job she did not land. (The woman says she had been working as a contractor for Apple prior to interviewing for the full-time role, so her technical skill probably shouldn’t have been in question.) A third alleges she missed out on possible promotions because the roles (which went to men) were never made public before being filled. “I was continually told that I was on my ‘Man Period,’” one male employee wrote of his experiences with sexism at Apple. Several of the employees whose emails Mic obtained say they have since quit and at least one is seeking legal action against the company.

Since most of these stories are anonymous, and since none have been confirmed or fleshed out, it’s hard to get a full sense of what is going on over at Apple. (Though it’s certainly not hard to imagine each and every scenario described in these emails happening to women in offices around the world.) Apple did not immediately reply to Select All’s request for comment and did not confirm the emails to Mic, instead offering only a statement about the company’s commitment to “treating everyone with dignity and respect.” Still, given the leaked email from an Apple representative earlier this week where a Canadian and a British woman were hailed as “diverse” it seems the company still has some things to work on.