One of the co-founders of the #AppleToo movement, which alleges ongoing racism, sexism and discrimination within the tech leader, has been fired by the company.
CNN’s Rishi Iyengar reported that Janneke Parrish, a former program manager at Apple, was suspended late last week and later terminated.
Parrish told CNN that “Apple told her she was fired for deleting files from her work devices before turning them over to the company as part of an internal investigation into leaks to the press.”
“The move marks the latest escalation of a growing rift between Apple and its employees, who in recent months have broken with the company’s historic culture of secrecy to speak out on controversial hiring decisions, alleged pay disparities and remote work policies,” Iyengar said.
In August 2021, Parrish and a former co-worker, Cher Scarlett, formed #AppleToo in an effort to help Apple workers “organize and protect themselves.”
According to Iyengar, the movement’s website urges current and former Apple employees to “share stories of issues they faced including racism, sexism and discrimination in order to outline ‘changes we expect to see Apple make.’”
“One thing about Apple’s culture is that it is a deeply secretive company,” Parrish said. “With #AppleToo and with remote work … we’re no longer alone, we’re no longer isolated, and we’re recognizing that what one of us experiences, many of us experience.”
In an interview with CNN Business on Friday, Oct. 15., Parrish said her group had received hundreds of reports in the weeks since it formed, adding that the alleged incidents “range the gamut from sexism and ageism to disclosures of rape and suicide.”
In a statement to CNN, Apple spokesperson Josh Rosenstock said, “we are and have always been deeply committed to creating and maintaining a positive and inclusive workplace. We take all concerns seriously, and we thoroughly investigate whenever a concern is raised and, out of respect for the privacy of any individuals involved, we do not discuss specific employee matters.”
Parrish told CNN that the company’s investigation into her started around Sept. 30, several days after company CEO Tim Cook issued a memo warning employees over the dangers of leaking confidential company information. Although Parrish said she had never leaked information, she was still asked to turn over her work-issued company devices. She said she did so but admitted to deleting personal information before handing it over, which ultimately got her fired.
“Apple encourages us to merge our private and work devices fairly thoroughly for testing purposes,” Parrish told CNN. “I had some private conversations, private information such as Robinhood investments, things that frankly aren’t Apple’s business to know.”
When asked whether she would pursue further action against Apple, Parrish’s lawyer, Chris Albanese, told CNN Business that he is “exploring all different avenues on behalf of our client.”