January 04, 2021 – An incredibly jarring story appeared a few days ago, written by an ex-Apple engineer that described a horrible and toxic workplace environment. And the publisher, Medium, promptly memory-holed the story.
Apple likes to pretend that they are a “woke” social justice company that endeavors to treat marginalized people with fairness and kindness. Tim Cook, Apple’s current CEO loves to boast that they are “inclusive” and equitable, and yet what we see in reality is something totally different. Underneath that false facade and shiny veneer of social justice, we see Apple utilizing slave labor from Chinese concentration camps, and a history of abusing employees and developers.
What does it mean when a company like Apple, with a $2 trillion evaluation and massive corporate power and reach, can get a publisher like Medium to remove a story that exposes their toxic workplace? How can employees hold a company like this accountable when they are censored for publishing about their experience, and when internal escalations and attempts to resolve the problems are not only ignored but are met with immediate termination? Due to Apple’s marketplace dominance other smaller technology companies, tech reporters and third party platforms are terrified of being on their bad side and being locked out of their app store or worse. This is the sort of power and influence they wield, and it is probably why you never hear anything critical about them.
One left wing writer has discussed the grave issue of censorship on Medium in an article entitled “Dear Medium, Censorship Is Worse Than Conservative Speech” wherein he argues that once the precedent has been set for this kind of censorship, it eventually effects everyone on the platform:
While I do not always agree with the conservative journalists who were banned, I believe they have an equal right to express their opinions and experiences.
‘Censorship is the tool of those who have the need to hide actualities from themselves and from others. Their fear is only their inability to face what is real, and I can’t vent any anger against them. I only feel this appalling sadness. Somewhere, in their upbringing, they were shielded against the total facts of our existence. They were only taught to look one way when many ways exist. — Charles Bukowski’
I came to this site several years ago to find an audience after I had stopped writing for many years. I’ve toyed with many political topics, taunted the CIA, written my infamous letter to Democrats, challenged the narrative on Seth Rich, attacked the mainstream media, and I have even gone after the bankers that control all of our lives. I thought this was a platform that valued free speech.
Many people have mistaken me for a conservative because I don’t play by the rules, and value things like liberty, freedom, speech, and privacy. While I still don’t consider myself to be a conservative, my ethos are that of a cypher punk, but to some people on the extreme left I am to the right of them. I accept that, and honestly I’d much rather be mistaken for someone on the right for believing in liberty and justice for all than be mistaken for a snowflake or communist on the extreme left who believes in censorship, violence, and safe spaces.
I detest snowflakes, I believe in diplomacy over violence, I am not a fan of communism, and I find “safe space” ideology to be delusional. Does that mean I should be banned from Medium?
The Silicon Valley tech elite backlash against free speech and anyone to the right of them politically needs to die a quick and painful death. Silicon Valley needs to stop enforcing their political policies through the social media platforms we all use to connect and debate with each other.
The irony of all of this is while Medium bans actual journalists with White House press credentials for being conservative they protect celebrities on the left like Wil Wheaton, even when they make up fake news about me personally. What?
Today Medium came for the conservatives, and I said something while you did nothing, how long before they come after someone like you or me? – Trent Lapinski
Trent foresaw that censoring conservatives would eventually lead to censoring everyone else, including the left. Medium has indeed gone on to censor some Democratic Socialists, among others. But now this censorship is extending to workers, in an effort to protect a $2 trillion company. This makes it a HUGE threat to democracy, which relies on and depends upon an informed citizenry.
The story that was published by the ex-Apple Engineer is nightmarish and grotesque. She describes herself as an immigrant and war survivor and the way she was treated by Apple employees underscores a clear problem with bigotry, sexism and discrimination plaguing the company.
Her story is being buried. No one is talking about it, out of fear
Eli Schiff wrote about Fear of Apple in 2015: https://t.co/PNrGYN0Bv0
— Humans of ____ (@HumansOfFlat) January 2, 2021
As @HumansOfFlat has pointed out, no one really wants to talk about her story for fear of upsetting Apple. She references an article from all the way back in 2015 by Eli Schiff discussing this fear of Apple from the perspective of a developer:
There is an unfortunate climate of fear in the software community today. It is primarily in ephemeral video interviews and podcasts that we get any semblance of coherent criticism and even then it is reticent. Worse than the fact that this criticism is relegated to verbal discussions is that it is later renounced by the very same designers and developers when they are interviewed in the more permanent-seeming medium of the written word. In written interviews, these fair-weather critics go on to reverse their opinions and praise the products of modern minimalist UI design because it is more convenient not to risk questioning powerful industry leaders.
It was a sight for sore eyes when Marco Arment engaged his critical faculties toward, what is in his opinion, the ‘rapid decline of Apple’s software.’ He argued that Apple has ‘Lost the Functional High Ground,’ ignoring of course that they already lost the aesthetic-usability high ground. He explained, ‘I’m not looking forward to OS X 10.11 or iOS 9 — I’m afraid of the bugs they’ll bring and the basic functions they’ll render unreliable.’
But after Arment’s article made its rounds in the news cycle, he updated it with a label that reads ‘I regret having published this.’ He continued, ‘I should feel good about this, but I don’t. I inadvertently caused a shitstorm of negativity, and it feels horrible.’ He asked with an existential tone, ‘Is that really what I want to be known for?’ For him, ‘It’s not worth it.’ For measured critique to not be worth it, there must be some justification for why developers would hold their tongues.
Prominent UK developer Matt Wilcox wrote a similar article to Arment’s entitled ‘Apple has a software problem.’ In his article he made sure every criticism was preceded by a compliment: ‘Apple are excellent at hardware, great at design, have a strong design sense and leadership. But they are seriously lagging behind the standards set in those particulars when it comes to software.’
Wilcox’s flattery is not accidental. It was essential that Wilcox mentioned his qualification as an Apple fanatic, because that is, of course, the pre-requisite for saying anything remotely unfavorable about Apple. In later commentary, Wilcox clarified, lest anyone misunderstand him: ‘I use, enjoy, and recommend Apple stuff…I’m an Apple guy through and through.’
It only got worse, as Wilcox was manning the analytics watch for his site, he noticed a particular visitor to his site: ‘A little disconcerting to have posted an Apple crit and then spot someone in ‘Cupertino’ in the analytics for the page…’
It appeared to Wilcox that someone at Apple’s Cupertino campus may have seen his criticism. But for him this was not to be taken as a positive sign that someone working at Apple might take note of his ostensibly legitimate complaints. Instead it was the opposite, it was ‘disconcerting.’ We must ask what about someone at Apple reading his criticism caused him to feel this fear?
Arment too let his fear be known: ‘I’m scared of having damaged my relationship with Apple.’ It is highly interesting that Arment of all people now regrets and fears having criticized Apple, considering that six years earlier, he was not so afraid of throwing punches at the company.
If developers are suffering this much from the draconian review process that Apple is running, then why are they so afraid to assert themselves? What if the ‘bad PR’ Sasser is afraid of did not become a nightmare, but rather a wake up call for Apple to see the value that developers bring to the table? Why are developers running around with their hands tied behind their backs in order to appease Apple, a company that developers themselves admit has left them out to dry?
Coincidentally, Russell Ivanovic is a case in point for what could happen if you defy Apple and launch on Android first. Ivanovic had initially been very lucky to have been assigned an Apple Developer Relations representative who gave him exclusive promotional opportunities. Few developers get assigned these representatives. Among the benefits Ivanovic received was the privilege to have Shifty Jelly’s apps preloaded on iPads in Apple stores in Australia, a major marketing boost.
Things went south In 2012, when Ivanovic launched a new version of the Pocket Casts app on the Android Play Store first, rather than Apple’s App Store. The launch was a real success, and he publicly shared the good news. Before he knew it, his Apple Developer Relations representative stopped all contact. The representative would not even answer his emails. Ivanovic had been completely shut out. – Eli Schiff, Fear of Apple
Eli Schiff had figured out in 2015 what so many of us are just realizing today, that Apple enjoys a monopoly status and that if you cross them, there will be consequences. His article also highlights Apple’s abusive relationship with the people who make its products and its apps. He describes how they purposely created a race to the bottom type setup for app developers that forced them to price so low they couldn’t afford to make enough money to pay their bills, and that if you weren’t “featured” by Apple, very rapidly your app would be buried.
It makes Apple and bigtech look bad and builds resentment against America’s evil immigration policies
You’re looking a gift horse in the mouth because you can’t look past your own victimhood identity https://t.co/ar0adHvoc8
— Humans of ____ (@HumansOfFlat) January 2, 2021
Again, @HumansOfFlat is absolutely correct here. Apple is quick to virtue signal their “inclusive” stance toward some, but hypocritically those are the very people they most systematically mistreat. This practice also highlights a fundamental flaw in “wokeness” and “social justice.” Those promoting it only do so to distract from their own bigotry, pretending to be champions of the very people whose labor they are extracting under predatory and unfair toxic work practices,.
If you want a vision of America in the present, imagine Muslim immigrant slaves being bullied, threatened and abused by ex-convicts and woke white women who literally do no work and sink their companies while claiming fake disability status all while being protected by executives pic.twitter.com/AFX3fuRx2Y
— Humans of ____ (@HumansOfFlat) January 2, 2021
This perfectly illustrates the sick, domineering lust for power that typifies the average “woke” social justice liberal. They know they are bigoted and abusive so they project that bigotry and blood lust onto their political opponents or anyone who disagrees with their new “religion.” If they really cared about minorities or marginalized people, why do they continue to exploit them and use them to gain power? Why do they attack people of color who disagree with their victim narrative? Why do they decry any real attempt to get accountability from big tech corporations and government agencies?
There’s something deeply innocent and sad about this piece of graphic design. The pre-existing asymmetry of the Apple logo is punctuated by a symmetrical teardrop. A young person was destroyed and that should be remembered pic.twitter.com/DTbKia84Ra
— Humans of ____ (@HumansOfFlat) January 3, 2021
The author of the article has describe the symptoms of PTSD and long term trauma that resulted from their experience working at Apple. She described being forced to work 70 hours or more per week, while being bullied by superiors and unable to turn to anyone for help.
The main thing we know about Apple’s corporate culture is that it is extremely secretive, and that employees do not readily identify themselves or talk about their experiences there.
Secrecy doesn’t end up just protecting the new iPhone launch, tho. https://t.co/HMeUkAkfhJ
— Carmen Crincoli, but Fhqwhgads (@CarmenCrincoli) January 1, 2021
This extreme secrecy is designed to protect Apple and its abusers, while shutting down the abused and the victims.
Here are some of the more egregious things she described:
One of the most disturbing aspects of her story is the bizarre names for things like “iBuddy” that are just so infantile and stupid sounding. This is one of the things I detest about really large corporations — cheesy and useless labels.
She describes here the weaponization of false sexual harassment allegations and how a past employee was battered and abused by them.
Another abusive tactic displayed by Apple employees was excluding her from events, and yet Apple pretends to be “inclusive” and proponents of “social justice.”
Apple and their management team understand how to abuse the workplace visa program, and lord deportation threats over the heads of visa workers to induce slave labor.
The Human Resources team at Apple seem dedicated to protecting abusive employees, rather than protecting the victims of their abuse. This creates an extremely toxic environment, seemingly by design, wherein these bullies are led to believe they can do anything and get away with it.
Anyone who has worked in HR knows this is NOT how you handle a meeting unless you are intentionally trying to intimidate an employee.
This is another form of intense harassment and bullying, creating the impression that one is always being monitored and that any little mistake will be embellished.
No wonder she is displaying signs of trauma and PTSD. This is insane behavior and this “iBuddy” should have been fired on the spot.
More intimidation tactics higher up the chain, indicating a pattern of abuse.
This is a classic tactic of narcissistic abuse; the abuser blames the victim for the abuse.
What kind of manager allows workplace abuse to get so bad that employees are having panic attacks and taking medication just to attend meetings?
The management team is once again putting the abuser in a place of “authority” above the victim, letting the abuser torment and harass her daily.
My heart goes out to this women, who clearly has had her life and career upended by Apple. The senior management appears to approve of this kind of environment and did little to help, and in fact often encouraged the abusers and bullies and enabled them. We can observe that at the highest levels of Apple, choices are made to exploit foreign slave labor where some workers have died creating an iPhone, all the way down to the lowest levels of the company where employees are treated horrendously. Abuse and toxic labor practices seem to be woven into the very fabric of the company. Apple has degraded itself to such an extent that it has become a vehicle for inequality, bigotry, discrimination, abuse, sexual harassment and nepotism, the very things they boldly proclaim to be against. They appear to have made intentional infliction of emotional distress a mandatory part of senior management, and like an abusive mate, prevented their victims from speaking out and altering the authorities.
The rank hypocrisy could not be more evident. What can be done to hold a $2 trillion juggernaut accountable to the least among them? How can we get their attention and force them to start changing the toxic corporate culture that has become sinister and rancid? Perhaps it will have to be little articles like this one, that can like David’s rock eventually amass enough momentum and force to take down Goliath himself.
~~Publisher’s Note: PSB has reached out to both Apple, Inc. and Medium for comment on this story and have yet to receive a response.