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.