Denise Young Smith, head of inclusion and diversity at Apple, has expressed “regret” over her controversial comments about the subject. In an email issued to staff and obtained by TechCrunch Friday, Oct. 13, Smith apologizes for her statement at the One Young World Summit.
“Last week, while attending a summit in Bogota, [Colombia] I made some comments as part of a conversation on the many factors that contribute to diversity and inclusion,” Smith said in the email. “I regret the choice of words I used to make this point. I understand why some people took offense. My comments were not representative of how I think about diversity or how Apple sees it. For that, I’m sorry.”
Smith assured workers that the Steve Jobs-founded company’s commitment to diversity has not wavered.
“Understanding that diversity includes women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and all underrepresented minorities is at the heart of our work to create an environment that is inclusive of everyone,” she said, adding, “there is much work to be done.”
Diversity in Tech
Last week, Smith was caught up in a major controversy for her response to a question asking what she focuses on while promoting diversity.
“I focus on everyone,” she said according to Quartz. “Diversity is the human experience. I get a little bit frustrated when diversity or the term diversity is tagged to the people of color or the women or the LGBT. … There can be 12 white blue-eyed blonde men in a room and they are going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation.”
In response to Smith’s apology, the reactions have varied.
Some thought Smith didn’t need to apologize in the first place.
Unpopular opinion: This was phrased very badly but she didn’t deserve the vitriol or need for a forced apology. https://t.co/nls89n1E5Z
— Caroline McCarthy (@caro) October 16, 2017
@Apple Sorry to learn of Ms. Smith's apology. See made a most important, timely, unifying point. Inclusion and diversity is for everyone.
— Everyone is Included (@include_all) October 16, 2017
Others weren’t satisfied with the explanation.
If I worked at Apple, I would not accept her apology. She’s an example of diversity and inclusion has to include the right thought process.
— Conchess (@Conchess6) October 15, 2017
— Mark Kido (@Mark_Kido) October 15, 2017