Apple fired its diversity chief shortly after she made statements allowing that white people can come from a diversity of backgrounds.
“There can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blond men in a room and they’re going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation,” diversity and inclusion chief, Denise Young Smith, recently said at a summit in Columbia according to the New York Post.
“Diversity is the human experience … I get a little bit frustrated when diversity or the term diversity is tagged to the people of color, or the women, or the LGBT,” she added, according to Quartz.
Her remarks did not sit well with some who interpreted her language as sign of support for what many consider a male hierarchy at the tech giant, given that most of the leadership positions are not held by minorities. As of 2017, 3 percent of Apple’s leaders were black, and 23 percent of total tech jobs were filled by women, according to Fortune.
Smith previously headed up Apple’s worldwide Human Resources for 20 years, never running into problematic statements with the company or its higher ups. Smith later apologized for her statements, saying they “were not representative of how I think about diversity or how Apple sees it,” the Post reported. Smith was hired in May and will leave the position at the end of the year, making her tenure six months.
“We deeply believe that diversity drives innovation,” an Apple spokesman told TechCrunch in a statement, explaining that they have hired a new chief who will work “toward a more diverse workplace.”
Apple’s latest diversity report says that “50% of new hires are from historically underrepresented groups in tech.”
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