WashPo: Meet the #AppleToo activist who hasn’t been fired

Her co-conspirator Janneke Parrish was terminated Friday. Is Cher Scarlett next?

From Reed Albergotti “She pulled herself from addiction by learning to code. Now she’s leading a worker uprising at Apple.” posted Thursday by the Washington Post:

Most tech employees fear speaking about the companies they work for, lest they be discovered by myriad corporate surveillance techniques that have only gotten more sophisticated with new technology. Nowhere is that more true than at Apple, whose CEO Tim Cook, in the wake of employees speaking out about working conditions, sent a companywide memo about the company’s efforts to ferret out leakers.

That began to change this summer, with the rise of the #AppleToo movement. In largely anonymous testimonials, more than 500 employees — many working at Apple’s more than 500 global retail stores — have accused the company of erecting “an opaque, intimidating fortress” that tolerates “racism, sexism, discrimination, retaliation, bullying, sexual and other forms of harassment.”

Scarlett has become the face of the #AppleToo movement, a role that evolved from her brutally honest presence on Twitter, where she goes by @cherthedev and has amassed 46,000 followers…

Scarlett, who says her mental health has suffered as a result of the harassment she has received from some of her colleagues at Apple, is now on paid medical leave and has retained an attorney who is representing her in negotiations with Apple’s lawyers.

“I’m not a corporate shill, but I’m also not throw-away-my-job idiotic,’” she said. “I have to feel good about what I’m putting into the world, whether that’s in my job or on social media, whatever. I have to feel good about it. And if I don’t, I have to remedy it immediately.”

My take: Hers is a sad but inspiring story. I wouldn’t want to mess with Ms. Scarlett in the library — or in the courtroom.

See also: Leader of Apple activism movement says she was fired.

14 Comments

  1. Gary Morton said:
    If you tirelessly look for the weed in a beautiful garden of flowers, you will find it.

    9
    October 16, 2021
  2. Jonny T said:
    Can you spell trouble…

    0
    October 16, 2021
    • Steven Philips said:
      “With a capital T – that rhymes with P”…

      1
      October 16, 2021
  3. Jerry Doyle said:
    While there more than likely are degrees of merit to some of Ms. Scarlett’s complaints against Apple and other tech firms with whom she has been associated, I wonder to what extent her own past personal anguish and strains are contributing to her desire to vindicate her reasoning not to succeed personally in life. Her fellow employees will prostitute Ms. Scarlett to voice their internal complaints targeted at the organization and its system while hiding behind curtains themselves. Ms. Scarlett will be their sacrifice as she seems to feel more comfortable fighting battles in life then making peace with it and herself.

    5
    October 16, 2021
  4. bas flik said:
    i do not like the complainers but the media loves them.

    3
    October 16, 2021
  5. Fred Stein said:
    I skimmed the WaPo article – it’s a mashup of opinions and allegations. It adds in the FB ‘outer’ in to appeal the folks who love a scandal, and have no interest in verifiable facts or relevance.

    Her personal struggles, predating her time at Apple, don’t make her more or less credible. It makes good copy.

    4
    October 16, 2021
    • David Emery said:
      Who needs facts when you have a good story?

      Our weekends on NPR are full of “expose shows” that have a similar make-up. In a few cases, I’ve had enough expertise on the topic to evaluate if they present a fair representation, or just the ‘most heart-rending story’ independent of alternative explanations. The ‘heart-rending’ always wins, anecdote to fit the narrative is used instead of looking for nuance or alternative explanations.

      Sigh….

      1
      October 16, 2021
  6. Michael Goldfeder said:
    She ought to go work for Tim Sweeney at Epic Games as she appears to be tailored made for that organization. When someone else signs your paycheck, there are rules to abide by.

    The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and in her case it’s reminiscent of that old song with the lyrics: “Hit the Road Jack.”

    2
    October 16, 2021
  7. Steven Philips said:
    “Sent a memo to ferret out leakers “in the wake of employees speaking out”. ? No. Tim’s called out leakers for some time! Mostly about Apple PRODUCT leaks. Parrish wasn’t fired for speaking out, but for leaking internal company information. WaPo is becoming more like NYT!

    2
    October 16, 2021
  8. “Mutiny is a revolt among a group of people to oppose, change, or overthrow an organization to which they were previously loyal. The term is commonly used for a rebellion among members of the military against an internal force, but it can also sometimes mean any type of rebellion against any force.” — Wikipedia but no doubt purloined from another source.
    Public corporations are not democracies. Far from it, good corporate governance demands communication move through proper channels. Ms Parrish may have raised some important points but she spoke/shared direct to the press. Other than the press itself, I can cite no examples of publicly traded firms allowing random employees to speak or share internal documents with the press. If you fail to follow orders the captain puts you in a dinghy with some food and water before 1/2 the crew gets similar notions. Every shipmate knows that. Ms. Parrish knew it yet she chose to sever her relationship with her employer by violating a sacrosanct rule, after a specific warning about leaking from CEO Cook. I would think long and hard before hiring someone that did what she did.

    3
    October 16, 2021
  9. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    “I have to feel good about what I’m putting into the world, whether that’s in my job or on social media, whatever. I have to feel good about it.”

    First mistake in life? Expecting the world to be what you want it to be and for it to act accordingly.

    Better strategy? Attitude is everything. Pick a good one.

    1
    October 17, 2021
  10. Bart Yee said:
    IMO, if there is “racism, sexism, discrimination, retaliation, bullying, sexual and other forms of harassment“ at Apple, then it should be taken seriously by Apple management and employees, investigated cleanly and transparently, and appropriately addressed. This may or may not be done well by the company, it’s HR department, third parties hired to investigate, or even employee led committees. Despite policies, company philosophies, and reasonably good communications and training, there will always be people, managers and employees who do not understand, learn, embrace or practice good behaviors towards each other in ANY company. In this regard, it would be, IMO, foolish to think Apple is immune to this issue – in reality, Apple’s record is only as good as its employees, the uncovering of poor or unacceptable behaviors, and any subsequent discipline, retraining, victim protection, and / or job actions, including dismissal. Bad behaviors also would include actions detrimental to the company or violating job requirements including disclosing intellectual property and product development or details.

    IMO, male dominated tech firms still have a long way to go to address almost inherently male dominated behaviors which spark these types of charges when exposed, shown, and believably experienced by others (those who are bullied, discriminated, or otherwise acted against for reasons other than job performance, and sometimes for +/- job performance). Like medical schools, Apple’s chosen and selected employees are still a slice of the general population, sorted and selected for specific skills, experience and intellect, but behaviors in private or even at previous jobs are not always known or reported. Training to inform and instill appropriate job or professional behaviors desired by the company or profession is not always learned or accepted, collegial team building is many times disrupted by competitive individuals, and Lassez-faire leadership, while stimulating creativity, can problematic for structure and support of individuals.

    If Apple is to live its credo of inclusiveness, proper behaviors, and reasonable equality, IMO, Apple must also do so for most if not all its employees.

    1
    October 17, 2021

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