An Apple executive has apologized for comments she made regarding “diversity” during a leftist conference last week in Bogota, Colombia.

Denise Young Smith, Apple’s VP of Inclusion and Diversity, suggested “diversity” can exist among people who look alike as part of a panel discussion on fighting "racial injustice" during 2017's "One Young World Summit":

And I’ve often told people a story — 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.

Smith subsequently apologized to Apple employees via company-wide email for suggesting that diversity of experience and points of view can exist among people who look alike:


I have always been proud to work for Apple in large part because of our steadfast commitment to creating an inclusive culture. We are also committed to having the most diverse workforce and our work in this area has never been more important. In fact, I have dedicated my twenty years at Apple to fostering and promoting opportunity and access for women, people of color and the underserved and unheard.

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.

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 color, LGBTQ people, and all underrepresented minorities is at the heart of our work to create an environment that is inclusive of everyone.

Our commitment at Apple to increasing racial and gender diversity is as strong as it’s ever been. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made, but there is much work to be done. I’m continually reminded of the importance of talking about these issues and learning from each other.



Smith's role at Apple is to “[lead] a team responsible for improving Apple’s diversity figures.”

VP of Worldwide Human Resources for Apple Denise Young Smith speaks at the Geneal Session Luncheon for the 44th Annual Legislative Conference at Walter E. Washington Convention Center on September 25, 2014 in Washington, DC.

H/T Matthew Panzarino at TechCrunch.

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