Things get ugly in Apple’s social media channels

Cher Scarlett and Ashley Gjovik, two employees speaking out about working conditions at Apple, are getting a ton of hate mail.

From Rachel Kraus’ “AppleToo organizer faces online harassment—some of it from coworkers” posted Thursday on Mashable:

When it comes to both its products and the company itself, Apple is notoriously secretive. Scarlett [who took her complaints to the National Labor Relations Board], views the vitriolic criticism levied at her for breaking the Apple cone of silence as “a reflection of the culture.”

Gjovik also attributes the “conflict” she’s faced online as “rooted in folks simply trying to understand my story and motives, and trying to reckon with challenging their perspectives of a highly respected company with deep brand loyalty.”

Those intensely loyal Apple fans could be fueling the AppleToo backlash.

“The world generally admires Apple,” Gjovik said. “I think it is difficult for employees and the public to reckon with Apple the company misbehaving, when we often mentally combine the company and brand. [emphasis mine] I think folks are having a difficult time coming to terms that Apple the company appears to have major, systemic issues while at the same time folks have deep loyalty to and admiration of Apple’s products.”

My take: Conflating the company with the brand is something that happens a lot with Apple. Why is that, I wonder?

17 Comments

  1. You face trial in the court of public opinion first, the loudest voices, not necessarily the truth, often prevail. You can’t wait for actual discovery, depositions & frequently delayed hearings in court. You must find a way to settle with the vacuous court of public opinion.
    Remember FB, MSFT, Twitter & Google tweak algorithms to create brush fires in these courts, discretely attacking policies they don’t like. The truth gets lost under flame wars of outrage, mostly based on ignorance of plain facts. Social media sites capture more time from more eyeballs. Mission accomplished.

    5
    September 3, 2021
  2. As an investor I can’t imagine not paying attention to brand & company. While we may get far less insight into the back office due to corporate gag policies, it’s not too hard to tell which business generally has employees that gel versus firms facing mutiny.
    In the case of Apple, getting new phone models out « early » or on-time, is a testimonial to their ability to work collaboratively. Done during a WFH, pandemic lockdown situation, this annual accomplishment becomes a marvel of business acumen!
    Squeaky wheels on a Slack forum & 2 NRLB complaints fail to impress me as relevant data points.

    9
    September 3, 2021
  3. Gregg Thurman said:
    Much ado about nothing, amplified through an internet/media megaphone.

    100,000 employees, two squeaky voices after several weeks of public complaining.

    Put her on administrative leave for one year, then let her seek her fortunes elsewhere.

    3
    September 3, 2021
    • Dan Scropos said:
      I have to agree with you, Gregg. I still haven’t seen any substantial allegations in their complaints. In fact, I haven’t seen any. What, exactly, are they alleging?

      0
      September 3, 2021
  4. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    “My take: Conflating the company with the brand is something that happens a lot with Apple. Why is that, I wonder?”

    Easy answer? As a culture we need our heroes to idolize until such time they need to be torn down and left behind.

    Apple’s time isn’t up yet and good luck guessing when it will be.

    Also — as everyone here on this blog can attest, hard steady work is more expected than respected.

    2
    September 3, 2021
    • Fred Stein said:
      Yes, and I upvoted:

      First casualty, truth. This NOT “Apple’s social media”. Its social media, which unlike anything “Apple” is un-curated or poorly curated. Splitting hairs? Maybe, but it’s important.

      Likewise, “notoriously secretive” has a deliberate negative connotation. The author has bias or likes inflammatory writing or both.

      0
      September 3, 2021
      • Gregg Thurman said:
        The author has bias or likes inflammatory writing or both.

        Have you ever tried to read a full page of legal ads? I’m not sure anything will put a person to sleep faster than that does.

        In order to be successful a journalist must be read. Enter the headline.

        Sensationalism is a negative genetic trait among the species, followed by a talent to shape an article with clever omissions. I can count on one hand the number of journalists I have respected: Edward R Murro, Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, Tom Brokaw, ……. Everyone since have been headline hunters

        1
        September 3, 2021
        • David Emery said:
          PED’s not on your list?

          There’s a view that “Vietnam was lost when Walter Cronkite said it was, after Tet in 1968.”

          0
          September 3, 2021
          • Gregg Thurman said:
            Vietnam was “lost” when the French left town. Ho Chi Minh was a nationalist that could only get support for his cause from the communists.

            1
            September 3, 2021
            • Gregg Thurman said:
              I don’t remember reading PED back in the day. Today I view PED as a provider of a service, one I’m willing to pay for.

              1
              September 3, 2021
  5. Dan Scropos said:
    Employees penned an open letter to Tim Cook.

    To Tim Cook & the Senior Leadership team,
    Apple prides itself on its commitment to diversity, equity, and an environment where every person is able to do their best work; however, in practice, this is far from the case. Our experiences with the People team in dealing with harassment and discrimination have left many of us more vulnerable.

    Apple’s policies on privacy and device linking also ensure that when we do seek recourse, we risk our personal privacy being invaded. When we seek leave or accommodation through Apple’s mental and physical health partners, we are asked to release broad scope personal medical information to Apple and any of Apple’s agents for a blanket period of two years. Apple prides itself on its privacy policies, yet it feels as workers, our privacy is of no concern.

    Hundreds of us have documented our stories of abuse, discrimination, and harassment. Hundreds of us have documented reporting our stories through internal channels, and receiving no relief. In sharing our stories, we are calling attention to our experiences working at Apple, and how much better we can do.

    At Apple, we are called upon to do the right thing, and that must extend to how we treat employees. We are reaching out because Apple must fulfill its promise of inclusion, diversity, and equity. We demand an environment where everyone feels safe and welcome and has the promise of equal opportunity and treatment.

    0
    September 3, 2021
    • David Emery said:
      And was that letter signed?

      0
      September 3, 2021
      • Dan Scropos said:
        At the end it asks if you’ll sign it and stand in solidarity with the letter’s complaints/demands. I chose the “no” option. It seems pretty baseless to me.

        0
        September 3, 2021

Leave a Reply