Is a New Age of Employee Activism Dawning at Apple?

Apple Park campus cafeteria doors opening

There has been much controversy this week over the hiring, and subsequent exit, of Antonio García Martínez at Apple. The former Facebook product manager and author of the book Chaos Monkeys had published a variety of sexist and racist comments. His hiring provoked anger amongst existing Apple employees. What’s interesting about this case is that, even as tech employees get more active, this is the first real example of a backlash from Cupertino staffers.

The Start of Employee Activism at Apple

The eye-catching nature of an Apple employee backlash was noted by Ina Fried at Axios, and also Casey Newton, who reported on the incident for The Verge and in his Substack newsletter, Platformer (which, if you don’t already, is well worth subscribing too). There, he wrote:

On one hand, you can understand why Apple would be unlikely to anticipate the outrage that hiring García Martínez would ultimately generate internally. We are now years into collective actions at tech giants spilling out into public view, whether it’s Googlers protesting sexual harassment or Amazon workers demanding action on climate change. But whatever internal conflicts Apple employees may have been working through — or whatever public controversies the company may have been facing — it has always stayed inside.

So this is a significant moment. How significant, we will only know in the future. I think it unlikely that we will see the levels of employee activism that we’ve seen at Amazon or Google at Apple in the very near future. However, at the very least, Apple managers will surely now be more conscious when vetting potential employees. As Mr. Newton put it:

Suddenly at Apple, as everywhere else, managers can only stand back and watch as workers reshape the bounds of what will be permitted at work.

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Employee activism at Apple? Not b-likely! When it suits Apple to spin a bad management hire into a good news story… and only when it suits management, more likely. Totally agree with John K on this one. This is a distraction from a bad management decision. There’s no chance the book nor his abrasive attitude to -anyone really- were missed by HR. And the book is merely being used to justify the dismissal. This is definitely a bad fit and a public excuse, to make Apple appear woke to social justice warrior employees, when in reality it knowingly employed this… Read more »


To paraphrase Jack Welsh, Corporations are benevolent dictatorships, not democracies.


The individual that should be fired is the person who hired Antonio Garcia Martenez. It’s easy to blame the so called “activists” employees but when any individual gets tagged for offensive behavior or comments in the past it should always be about them owning their personal past. More due diligence on the part of the personnel department could have avoided the backlash from employees and a potential payout to an individual that has already cooked his own goose.

John Kheit

Disagree. The people that should be fired are the “intolerant to different thought” mobs at Apple that engage in woke activism rather than doing their jobs.

John Kheit

Maybe if these activists stfu and actually did work we’d have more good work from Apple rather than woke mobs. Apple could sorely use Steve Jobs firing a bunch of these useless activists in the elevator to level set back to reality. Instead of a chef, Apple has a cook that still hasn’t leaned basic business lessons of diversification of product supply while Apple moves to quash diversification of thought by letting these bozos form intimidating mobs inside the company.