An Apple Store manager has apologised to six African students after staff at its Australian Highpoint shopping centre branch, asked them to leave, citing concerns they "might steal something". A video of an interaction between a store staff member and the group of students was uploaded onto Facebook on Tuesday night (10 November).
According to this video, an Apple staff is heard as saying, "These guys [security guards] are just a bit worried about your presence in our store. They're just worried you might steal something."
The video received many comments on social media, saying it was an obvious case of racial profiling. Mabior Ater, one of the students said that he had been going to the Highpoint shopping centre for a long time and never expected something like this would happen. "Of course I was offended," he said.
He added that the principal of Maribyrnong College, the school the students were attending, went back to the store with the group to help them seek an apology. The Apple Store manager then apologised to them and told them that they were welcome at the store anytime.
"It feels like we have justice now", Ater said.
Apple Australia confirmed that the store's manager had apologised to the students and to Nick Scott, their school principal the next day, when they returned to the shopping centre.
"They were just six kids standing around a table looking at phones," Scott said, adding that this was not the first time that his students, dressed in school uniform, were treated this way at the mall.
Other instances of racism in Australia
● In April, a passenger in a Sydney train was praised for defending a Muslim couple who were being racially abused.
● In 2012, a French-speaking woman singing on a Melbourne bus was told to "speak English or die" by a man.
● Also in 2012, a recorded video showed that two Chinese students were burned, beaten and racially abused on a Sydney train.