Apple’s Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity Denise Young Smith has apologised for her controversial remark on diversity she made during the One Young World Summit in Colombia earier this week, a media report said. At the event, Smith was explaining how Apple focuses on diversity and commented that there could be “twelve white blue-eyed blonde men in a room who are still diverse”.
“Diversity is the human experience. I get a little bit frustrated when diversity or the term diversity is tagged to the people of colour, or the women, or the LGBT,” Tech Crunch quoted her as saying. “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.”
The comment attracted criticism from diversity advocates and commentators she made during a panel discussion. On Saturday, Smith sent an apology to her team members at Apple saying that “she understands why some were offended by her statement” and attempted to clarify what she meant.
“Last week, while attending a summit in Bogota, I made some comments as part of a conversation on the many factors that contribute to diversity and inclusion. “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,” she wrote in a mail.
“More importantly, I want to assure you Apple’s view and our dedication to diversity has not changed. Understanding that diversity includes women, people of colour, LGBTQ people, and all underrepresented minorities is at the heart of our work to create an environment that is inclusive of everyone,” the executive added.
The incident came at a time when several tech giants, including Google and Twitter are being accused of promoting anti-diversity, and allegedly serving as “avenues to spread racism and bigotry”.