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Apple VP quits after ‘fondling’ gaffe viral video

The logo in the window of the Apple Store on Regent Street, London.  (PA Archive)
The logo in the window of the Apple Store on Regent Street, London. (PA Archive)

A senior Apple exec is quitting the company after a video emerged of him boasting of “fondling big breasted women” in an embarrassing blow to chief executive Tim Cook as he called for more women to work in tech on a visit to London.

Tony Blevins, Apple’s vice president of procurement, appeared in a viral TikTok video sat in a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren supercar. When asked what he does for a living, he replied: “I have rich cars, play golf and fondle big breasted women, but I take weekends and holidays off.”

The remarks, which appear to reproduce a line from the 1981 film Arthur, has since racked up over 140,000 likes on TikTok videos and over 40,000 on Instagram.

It comes just days after Cook said there were “no good excuses” for the tech sector not to employ more women as he made a visit to London to visit the firm’s new headquarters at Battersea Power Station.

“I think the essence of technology and its effect on humanity depends upon women being at the table,” he told the BBC. “Technology’s a great thing that will accomplish many things, but unless you have diverse views at the table that are working on it, you don’t wind up with great solutions.”

Women make up only 35% of Apple’s global workforce, according to its 2021 diversity figures.

Blevins had worked at Apple for over 20 years and was one of a small number of people at the tech firm to report directly to Cook. “I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologise to anyone who was offended by my mistaken attempt at humour,” Blevins later said.

Apple shares slid 5.6% this week, wiping over $100 billion from the market cap of the world’s biggest listed company after reports the tech firm intends to cut a planned expansion in production of its iPhone 14 model.

The reduction still means the firm will aim to produce 90 million handsets for the period, almost matching last year’s production and in line with the company’s original forecast earlier this year. It comes after the firm said it would move some of its production to India and away from China.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.