To Apple’s ‘woke mobs’: What about Dr. Dre and the Uighurs? ask Matt Taibbi

“Much easier to ruin a career than mess with a corporate cash cow.”

From “On the Hypocrites at Apple Who Fired Antonio Garcia-Martinez” posted on the Substack “TK News by Matt Taibbi”:

I’m biased, because I know Antonio Garcia-Martinez and something like the same thing once happened to me, but the decision by Apple to bend to a posse of internal complainers and fire him over a passage in a five-year-old book is ridiculous hypocrisy. Hypocrisy by the complainers, and defamatory cowardice by the bosses — about right for the Invasion of the Body Snatchers-style era of timorous conformity and duncecap monoculture the woke mobs at these places are trying to build as their new Jerusalem…

I’m a fan of Dr. Dre’s music and have been since the N.W.A. days. It’s not any of my business if he wants to make $3 billion selling Beats by Dre to Apple, earning himself a place on the board in the process. But if 2,000 Apple employees are going to insist that they feel literally unsafe working alongside a man who wrote a love letter to a woman who towers over him in heels, I’d like to hear their take on serving under, and massively profiting from, partnership with the author of such classics as “Bitches Ain’t Shit” and “Lyrical Gangbang,” who is also the subject of such articles as “Here’s What’s Missing from Straight Outta Compton: Me and the Other Women Dr. Dre Beat Up.”

It’s easy to get someone like Antonio Garcia Martinez fired. Going after a board member who’s reportedly sitting on hundreds of millions in Apple stock is a different matter. A letter making such a demand is likely to be returned to sender, and the writer of it will likely spend every evaluation period looking over his or her shoulder. Why? Because going after Dre would mean forcing the company to denounce one of its more profitable investments — Beats and Beats Music were big factors in helping Apple turn music streaming into a major profit center. The firm made $4.1 billion in that area last year alone.

Speaking of profits: selling iPhones is a pretty good business. It made Apple $47.9 billion last year, good for 53% of the company’s total revenue. Part of what makes the iPhone such a delightfully profitable product is its low production cost, which reportedly comes from Apple’s use of a smorgasbord of suppliers with a penchant for forced labor — Uighurs said to be shipped in by the thousand to help make iPhone glass (Apple denies this), temporary “dispatch workers” sent in above legal limits, workers in “iPhone city” clocking excessive overtime to meet launch dates, etc. Apple also has a storied history of tax avoidance, offshoring over a hundred billion in revenues, using Ireland as a corporate address despite no physical presence there, and so on.

My take: “A penchant for forced labor” is unfair. I suspect Apple runs the most ethical supply chain in Asia. Even The Information’s Wayne Ma — who last week reported on seven Apple suppliers said to be exploiting Uighurs — acknowledged that the same suppliers worked for dozens of Western brands, including Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook. Also, did Dr. Dre sit on Apple’s board of directors? News to me.

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  1. Gregg Thurman said:
    Right wing left wing. OK, we’ve successfully morphed the issue into political dogma, from PED’s “A penchant for forced labor is unfair” to Joseph’s “right wing dog whistles”.

    Initially, I was appalled by the text in Martinez’s book, not giving any thought to the lyrics of Dr. Dre’s music. I was wrong.

    Should either example of extreme bad taste exist? No. But that they do makes it extremely unfair to single out one and not the other. Ideology, without an internal examination of what we find acceptable, allows us to do that. We can’t claim the high road in a fight/discussion about human rights, etc by being selective in what we find objectionable.

    Martínez wrote a book (books?) many found objectionable. We know he wrote at least one, but being the author is not the same thing as being the person.

    Allowing myself to become part of the hysteria was wrong, I’m going to work on that personal weakness. There are many others, here and elsewhere, that should do the same thing.

    May 15, 2021
  2. Kenny Kruger said:
    Not quite Apples to Apples comparison to Dre and Antonio.
    Dre grew up in the ghetto no father, and was young and un-formally educated to norms of society. I think he has expressed remorse as well.
    Not sure How Antonio grew up but it probably wasn’t in Compton and probably was not a teenager when he wrote the book….

    May 15, 2021
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      Dre grew up in the ghetto no father, and was young and un-formally educated to norms of society.

      Being, poor, black, child of broken home, whatever, is a cop out and doesn’t excuse bad behavior.

      May 15, 2021
      • Kirk DeBernardi said:
        @ Gregg Thurman —

        Last I checked, the moccasins “walk a mile” premise still stands.

        May 16, 2021
  3. Roger Schutte said:
    Accuracy doesn’t seem to be important to Matt Taibbi.

    – “…using Ireland as a corporate address despite no physical presence there…”

    Apple opened a manufacturing center in Cork, Ireland 40+ years ago and today has over 6,000 employees there.

    – Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine got seats at the executive board (senior management) at Apple as part of the Beat acquisition. They did NOT get seats on the Board of Directors.

    Thanks, PED for pointing out another Substack writer to avoid.

    May 15, 2021
  4. Fred Stein said:
    Fair? Matt’s opinion of hypocrisy.

    Not fair. His pack of lies.

    May 15, 2021
  5. Fred Stein said:
    I’m more curious why Antonio was hired. His career path does not seem like a good match.

    May 15, 2021

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