Apple employees at its Upper West Side store in New York City are being charged for racial discrimination after an incident during which they allegedly told two black men they were not welcome in the store and asked them to leave. Thankfully, the whole occurrence was recorded on a cell phone.
On December 9th, plaintiffs Brian Johnson, 34, and Nile Charles, 25, entered Apple’s store at 1981 Broadway at around 3:20 p.m. wearing “baggy jeans and large sweaters with hoods.” They claim weren’t in the store long before a member of Apple’s staff – who is said to be a 6’2’ white man in his 50s – weighing around 225 pounds – approached the gentleman in an “intimidating fashion.”
Apple’s employee is said to have invaded their “personal space” and said to them, “You know the deal. You know the deal.” Then asked the plaintiffs to leave the store unless they planned to purchase something or see a Mac Specialist. Johnston and Charles claim that before they had chance to respond, the Apple employee informed them they were not welcome because of their race:
“And before you say I’m racially discriminating against you, let me stop you. I am discriminating against you. I don’t want ‘your kind’ hanging out in the store.”
The pair claim situation was exacerbated when a second Apple store employee got involved. “Now you have to go,” they said. “If you want to know why, it’s because I said so. CONSIDER ME GOD. You have to go.”
When Johnston and Charles asked to speak to the store manager, they claim the head of security ignored their request and so they went to find the manager on their own before making allegations of racial profiling. The store manager then asked security to call 911, which they claim was to further degrade them.
“In order to further harass, degrade, humiliate, and discriminate against Plaintiffs, the manager asked Defendant’s Head of Security to call 911,” the complaint reads. “Defendant interfered with Plaintiffs right to purchase personal property because of their race.”
Johnston and Charles say they were “shocked and humiliated” by the incident, which they fortunately recorded on their cell phones. The pair are asking for punitive damages as compensation.
Apple is accused of violating federal and state civil laws in the lawsuit which was filed in February of this year in the New York Supreme Court. The filing surfaced this month after the case was moved to a U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York.
- Via AppleInsider