Principal Software Engineer at Apple, Cher Scarlett is one of the organizers of the newly launch #AppleToo movement. The movement hopes to bring a meaningful change at the company by anonymously sharing stories of ill-treatment, harassment, discrimination, and other injustices faced at the workplace. But the accusatory response of some makes her feel isolated.
Recently, Scarlet conducted an unofficial internal survey on pay equity and found that a 6% gender pay gap exists in the company amongst white male and non-white male/female employees. Earlier, senior engineering program manager, Ashley Gjøvik publically accused the company of promoting sexism at work. Apple is a very secretive company and it is no seldom that its employees publically take about products, policies, and even issues. Therefore, frustrated by the management’s carefree attitude to address issues and access to a social platform like Slack pushed former and current employees to launch the #AppleToo movement to hold the company accountable. But that comes with an emotional price, says the movement’s de-facto face, Scarlet.
A popular opinion of workers says that the #AppleToo movement is ruining the company
In an interview with Protocol, Scarlet responded with a sigh when asked how she was doing. One of the most popular posts on her anonymous worker forum Blind accusing her of ruining the company and she blames the company’s culture for such a reaction.
“There’s this culture within Apple that is very rewarding of secrecy and loyalty, and when I have read some of these posts about me, it’s very much seeping through, people are feeling that I’m leaking confidential data.” But Scarlett doesn’t see it that way — she works in corporate security and legal, and she said that she would never leak product information (and that her direct team supports her, and condemns the abuse she’s receiving). Talking publicly about issues within the workplace is, to her, an entirely different question.
It is explained that workers at Cupertino tech giant take pride in maintaining the secrecy and people highlighting issues publically are viewed as “leakers” ruining the company’s culture. As Scarlet is the most prominent face of resistance at Apple, she feels isolated in the fight to stand up for others who have been wronged.
“It’s affecting me in a way that I did not imagine; I do feel very isolated,” she said. “Outside of my team, I feel like there’s a lot of people who just want me to leave, they want me to want to leave.” But Scarlett sees her own feelings as small compared to the experience of the hundreds of Apple workers who have reached out to her over the last few months to share their stories of unresolved problems at work.
Keeping her feelings aside for the sake of the greater good, Scarlett says that it is time to hold America’s $2.5 trillion company accountable for ignoring its people.
“I feel like the company needs to be held accountable because they’re not holding themselves accountable. People want to feel heard. And they don’t feel heard by Apple. There are some people who have been there for decades who feel like Apple leadership used to listen to them, and make them feel like they were listened to, and they feel like that is gone,” she said. “I just want to find a way to create a well-oiled machine that lets people feel confident that they have the press, the public, telling the world that what happened to you was abhorrent and unacceptable.