Australian Apple store accused of racism

Apple is facing racism accusations from black teenagers who were asked to leave a store in Melbourne, Australia

Apple was facing accusations of racism in Australia on Thursday after a group of black teenagers was asked to leave a store in Melbourne when a staffer expressed concern they would shoplift.

The backlash against the technology giant began after one of the teens posted a video of Tuesday's incident on his Facebook page, captioning it: "Simply Racism."

In the video, a staffer is heard telling the teens: "These guys are just a bit worried about your presence in our store. They're just worried you might steal something."

"Why would we steal something?" one of the teens asks.

"End of discussion," the staffer replies. "I need to ask you to leave our store."

The six teens, who are 10th grade students at nearby Maribyrnong College and are of African or Middle Eastern descent, did nothing to prompt the ejection, said principal Nick Scott, who spoke with the students about the incident.

The teens believe they were targeted solely because of the color of their skin, Scott said.

"I never thought something like this would happen ... of course I was offended," Mabior Aterm, one of the teens, told The Age, a Melbourne newspaper, on Wednesday.

Mabior told the newspaper it is not the first time he has experienced racism but "this is the first time it has been this big."

His school principal said, "What those boys were doing in that Apple store was no different to what every other kid does in that Apple store, which is fawning over really cool devices, playing with them, taking photos of each other."

"I'm inclined to agree there was an implicit kind of racist response that just generalized an expectation of how they would behave," he said.

Scott contacted the store and asked if the teens could speak with the manager to smooth things over, and the store agreed. On Wednesday, the teens met with the manager, who apologized and reassured them they were welcome in the store, Scott said.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request by the Associated Press for comment. The Age reported that an Apple spokeswoman said the company was looking into the situation, adding the company was committed to cultural diversity and inclusion.

Al Jazeera and The Associated Press 

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