Apparently quoting a 40-year-old film can get you fired from one of the biggest companies on earth.
Tony Blevins, a vice president of procurement at Apple, was summarily fired after a TikTok video showed him quoting the 1981 movie “Arthur.” The firing followed TikToker Daniel Mac asking Blevins, 55, what he did for a living.
“I have rich cars, play golf and fondle big-breasted women, but I take weekends and major holidays off,” Blevins answered. “’Also, if you’re interested, I got a hell of a dental plan.”
Blevins was quoting the wealthy lead character in the movie, Arthur Bach, who says of his career, “I race cars, play tennis and fondle women, but I have weekends off and I am my own boss.”
Mac routinely asks owners of expensive cars what they do for a living. He spotted Blevins attending a car show on August 18 in Pebble Beach, California and was in his Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, which is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Blevins offered an apology when he spoke to Bloomberg News, saying, “I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my mistaken attempt at humor.”
Blevins “has been in charge of driving down the costs of many critical parts that go into Apple’s mobile devices,” Bloomberg reported.
Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams reportedly decided to fire Blevins after some Apple employees allegedly were offended by Blevins’ remarks.
In January 2020, The Wall Street Journal wrote in a profile of Blevins that he would “stop at little to get a favorable deal.” The Journal, noting that he was referred to as the “Blevinator,” referenced him rejecting a UPS contract and sending it back via FedEx, as well as convincing subcontractors to eschew paying a chip maker that Apple was in litigation with.
In 2012, Apple CEO entrusted Blevins with negotiating the fee the glass around Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California. Although Apple’s original estimates ranged to as much as $1 billion, “one of the largest glass orders in history,” the Journal noted, Blevins invited bidders to Hong Kong, where he placed them in separate conference rooms and urged them to lower their price, negotiating with long silences and artificial numbers.
Ultimately Apple “reduced its glass costs by an estimated hundreds of millions of dollars,” the Journal reported.