Apple, normally a very LGBT-friendly company, reportedly printed an anti-gay slur on a “queer” customer’s receipt.
An Oregon gay man recently visited the Portland Apple store, but he left with more than just a pair of headphones. On July 8, Adam Gregory Catanzarite received a receipt from the Apple store with “[email protected]” printed in the section which usually shows the customer’s email address. Still perturbed, Catanzanite posted the below message to his Facebook page on August 12, over a month later.
As you might suspect, the post was met by outrage within the LGBT community. A woman named Kate Anna commented, “Wow. NOT OK. did you send this up the chain at Apple?” Zachary J Helm wrote, “fucking. bullshit. i’m sorry you experienced this, adam.”
Someone named Tori Brown hinted that Catanzarite should sue Apple over the receipt, saying, “Dude apple has some deep pockets. I would def get at them for that. I’m sorry that’s awful to hear that such a large corporation doesn’t have the accountability for that kind of bigotry in their workplace.”
When contacted, an Apple employee relayed the message that the company could not comment on whatever disciplinary action was taken against the employee who printed the receipt, if any.
Catanzanite posted this follow-up message to his Facebook page on Wednesday, after receiving a surprising amount of media attention:
First, I feel that it is important to thank all of the individuals who have supported me through this process. Friends and complete strangers have shared the story with their own networks and it has reached folks across the country! It’s a bit overwhelming to see the amount of response I have received, yet, I am very greatly to all of those who have shown me compassion and the kindness. The queer community and their allies are a strong united force!
As a queer person, I have faced many instances where I have been called fag and other hurtful language. What often happens for queer people (or individuals who are perceived to be queer) in these moments is that their sense of safety, control and power are taken from them. Historically, my communities have faced a history that is filled with extreme violence by individuals who are victims of their own homophobia and the society that says homophobic behavior is okay. Violent actions against queer people are still happening today.
The impact that seeing the [email protected] on my receipt has brought about a feeling of great disappointment that this happened and it has made me feel that doing something banal as going to a store is now an unsafe activity. Words like “fag” have a strong impact not just on me, but my queer family. This is evident in the amount of outrage and support that I have received from queer people and our allies. Even though I have the tools to manage my aggrieved feelings, it still hurts to know that this could happen to someone else.
To prevent such an action from reoccurring, with a level-head I attempted to make it right through a one on one interaction with the manager. The manager at the Apple store in question was kind and reasonable. He apologized for the incident and agreed to let me keep the headphones (since I had already opened them and we both knew that returning them would result in them being thrown away and that is a poor use of resources) and refund me for my purchase. While he attempted to do right by refunding me, I have yet to see that $29.00 returned to my account. I’m not sure where the error was in getting me a refund, but as of the time of writing this response, I have yet to see it. The manager also gave me a gift card to the apple store (which felt reminiscent of the time when the driver who hit me (a pedestrian) with her car asked me if I wanted a ride home). I gave the gift-card away because I did not find value in being bought out and I had no interest in returning to the store again.
Due to the policies of the organization, I will not know the intent of the individual who put in [email protected] as my email address. It is possible that this could have been made in error, but the impact of the action remains the same. (http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/07/intentions-dont-really-matter/)
The employee who entered [email protected] should not be fired (take a minute to let that settle in if you need to), but should be given an opportunity to learn about the impact of the use of the word fag and how these words impact the individuals who have been oppressed by them. Apple should give this employee an opportunity to get the resources they need to better serve their customers. Othering individuals is not helpful in enacting social justice, since it is the fear of being seen at the other that leads people to harmful actions in the first place.
If Apple is committed to their queer identified employees and their customers (as they claim to be), then this is the perfect opportunity to show that commitment.
Thank you for your support, everyone! Please share this response and let me know if you have questions.
What do you guys think? Was this just a typo, or is the uproar within the LGBT community legitimate? Sound off in the comments section!