Sexist comment on TikTok makes it difficult for Apple’s top executive

Bloomberg – A top Apple Inc. (AAPL) executive is leaving the company after sexist comments went viral in a TikTok video. Specifically, he said he worked “caressing busty women.”

The video, posted on September 5, shows TikTok and Instagram creator Daniel Mac approaching Tony Blevins as part of a series where he asks owners of expensive cars about their work.

The executive was approached by Mac while parking a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, an out-of-production sports car that fetches hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Asked about his work, Blevins said, “I have expensive cars, play golf, and fondle busty women, but I don’t work weekends and major vacations.” He also said he had “an excellent dental plan”.

In reality, Blevins is Apple’s vice president of purchasing and is responsible for closing deals with vendors and partners. He recently worked on the company’s satellite deal with Globalstar Inc., led cellular modem negotiations with Qualcomm Inc. and Intel Corp., and was responsible for reducing the costs of many critical parts that go into Apple mobile devices.

Following an internal investigation into the matter, Blevins’ team – which included half a dozen direct reports and several hundred employees – was removed from command, according to people familiar with the matter.

Blevins, a 22-year Apple veteran, confirmed the incident to Bloomberg, saying the meeting took place on August 18. “I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my poor attempt at humor,” he said.

An Apple spokesperson said Thursday that Blevins is leaving the Cupertino, Calif.-based company.

Blevins served as one of about 100 Apple vice presidents and is one of 30 executives who report to CEO Tim Cook or COO Jeff Williams. Williams was Blevins’ boss for much of his career, although he briefly reported to Sabih Khan, Apple’s senior vice president of operations, according to the people.

It was Williams’ decision that the company and Blevins go their separate ways, one of the people said. The COO will oversee Blevins’ old team, at least for now, according to the person.

The TikTok video was shot at a car show Blevins attended last month in Pebble Beach, California. His comments in the 25-second clip reference a line from the 1981 film Arthur, where the main character, Arthur Bach, describes his own career: “I race cars, play tennis and grope women, but I have the weekends off and I’m my own boss.”

The video garnered over 40,000 likes on Instagram and 1.3 million views on TikTok. After posting the clip, Some members of Apple’s operations and purchasing teams reported it to the human resources department, the sources said, asking not to be identified as the situation is private. The company then launched the investigation, they said.

The video has become a talking point among Apple employees in recent weeks, with some expressing anger at his comments – especially as other executives, including Cook and Williams, have publicly defended the diversity of the hand. -work and empowerment of women – according to people. The video has also started to spread among employees of some of the company’s major suppliers.

Blevins’ departure leaves a void at Apple. He’s been central to the company’s success over the past two decades, according to employees familiar with his work, helping Apple fatten profit margins and gain access to core technologies sooner than rivals. He could be difficult to replace, given his knowledge of Apple’s supply chain and his negotiating skills, they said.

The the wall street journal described it as Apple’s best cost cutter in a 2020 report, saying it was called “the Blevinator”.

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