On the heels of their new product announcements, Apple is coming under heat from civil rights activist Al Sharpton.
The Washington Times reports that during a radio broadcast making the rounds on YouTube Sharpton suggests that Apple is too white and needs to add some black faces to executive-level positions.
“[There are] no blacks on the board of Apple,” Sharpton said on conservative blogger Brian Maloney’s “Radio Equalizer” broadcast. “We buying up all this Apple stuff and can’t get a bite.”
Sharpton is also heard on the broadcast saying: “Ah, now today the iPhone comes out … that is, of course, produced by Apple and Apple is one of those companies — I mean, we do a tremendous amount of business in our community with Apple, yet we’re not on their boards and there is no evidence they do a lot of advertising or a lot of contracting in our community.”
Also on the show was businessman Earl Graves Jr., whose father founded Black Enterprise magazine. Graves has run the magazine since 2006.
“They have no African-American directors in the company. They do little to no spending in African-American media,” Graves added. “They do little to no spending with procurement with African-American firms… The corporation in the executive rank looks like the Himalayas — the higher you go the whiter it gets.”
This is not the first time Sharpton, who critics accuse of shaking down companies with few minorities in leadership roles, has called out major firms for their lack of diversity. And sometimes, it was Sharpton who came under fire. “In 2006, he was accused of drumming up racial boycotts against several large companies unless they paid cash to his National Action Network nonprofit,” reports the newspaper. Sharpton denied the accusations. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn however launched an investigation into the matter.
And in 2003, Sharpton staged a rally at a DaimlerChrysler Chicago auto show and threatened to boycott the company. He accused executives of racial bias in car loans.