This Is The ‘Rape Joke’ That’s Rocking Apple

This Is The ‘Rape Joke’ That’s Rocking Apple

On Wednesday, Mic published an extensive report on leaked internal emails from Apple employees that discussed the “sexist, toxic work environment” at the company. The anchor of the story, and the incident that apparently sparked an internal email thread among 12 employees, was an account by “Danielle” (a pseudonym), who started a recent workday with what Mic says was “her male coworkers publicly joking about rape”.

Antoine Dodson of the “Bed Intruder Song” Image: Gizmodo, Photos: Apple/YouTube

From Mic:

Danielle is an engineer at Apple — and like many of the women in the company, she works on a male-dominated team. On a Tuesday morning in July, when men on her team began to joke that an office intruder was coming to rape everybody, Danielle decided to speak out about what she described as the “very toxic atmosphere” created by jokes about violent sexual assault.

But the internal office chat-log of the incident in question, obtained by Gizmodo, reveals more detail about the specific incident that Mic describes as “publicly joking about rape”. A team member had referenced the “Bed Intruder Song” — a popular internet meme since 2010 that set a dance tune to a local TV interview about a house intruder who allegedly tried to rape the sister of the meme’s star, Antoine Dodson. The video has been viewed 133 million times on YouTube and the song hit number 89 on the Billboard 100 charts when it was released.

This Is The ‘Rape Joke’ That’s Rocking Apple

“Could do without having songs referencing sexual assault mentioned,” replied Danielle. “Especially joking about it. -_-.” The other employee who made the comment apologised. The following exchange was censored by a source who said it included sensitive Apple code information. We have redacted any identifying information.

This Is The ‘Rape Joke’ That’s Rocking Apple

As Mic includes in its story, Danielle emailed Apple CEO Tim Cook the next day. Here’s the full text of that email with identifying information redacted. The text of the office chat log, shown above, was also included.

Mr. Cook,

I have been the only woman on the [redacted] Team in the [redacted] organisation under [redacted]. [Redacted] is the head of that team, with 30+ people. I have attempted to change this, by trying to alter the recruiting methods, and improve the culture.

Except, yesterday, I was greeted with rape jokes in our work chat.

[Text of the chatlog]

In case you aren’t familiar with the song, the lyrics are like so:

He’s climbin in your windows

He’s snatchin your people up

Tryna rape em so y’all need to

Hide your kids, hide your wife

Hide your kids, hide your wife

Hide your kids, hide your wife

And hide your husband cuz they’re rapin everybody out here

I do not feel safe at a company that tolerates individuals who make rape jokes. [Redacted] I feel *incredibly* unsafe at Apple now. I have tried to escalate to my manager several times that the culture was toxic, yet nothing has appeared to change.

Rape jokes in work chat is basically where I completely draw the limit. I would prefer not for folks to make fun of something, which for me personally has caused me *incredible* trauma, having actually been sexually assaulted in the past.

The engineer subsequently was given a month off work, but on her return, forwarded her email to Cook to her entire team with the added message:

So as far as I can tell , nothing of any serious consequence has happened within the last month.

Apparently, I’m supposed to return to work as normal? Nothing changes? I had a month off due to PTSD triggers, and business as usual.


Of course, Danielle’s story is just one incident detailed by Mic, which says it obtained 50 pages of emails from current and former Apple employees. And the emails certainly appear to show Apple has a problem with how women are treated in the workplace. Among the incidents detailed by Mic include a woman who said she sat in a meeting with dozen men who “stereotyped women as being nags”. She was later told by a male manager to smile as he walked past. Another woman said she was given the option of staying in her position, which Apple allegedly admitted was in a hostile environment, or take a lower paying, lower ranking job. A male employee said he was constantly referred to as emotional and on his “Man Period”.

This is a statement used to push the fact that women while menstruating are emotional and cannot be depended on to do work or be rational while in this state. Therefore if I was a man on my period then I was seen as inferior and an emotional mess just like most women are once a month.

Danielle has not responded to Gizmodo’s emails. A source on her team told Gizmodo that, while the other incidents in Mic’s story might be “somewhat accurate… to use this incident as ‘the cherry on top’ is a total misrepresentation of the incident itself”.

In an earlier email, the source defended the reference to the Bed Intruder song and said now “everybody is acting like the office is filled with landmines”.

“First of all, when it came out, news outlets across the US played this ridiculous Bed Intruder song in the news,” the person said. “It appeared in Tosh.0 and is a well-known meme, specifically for the ‘Hide yo kids, hide yo wife, hide yo husbands’ aspect, less so about rape.”

An Apple spokesman told Gizmodo that Cook did not personally give Danielle a month off but that the email could have started an “H.R. process”.

Another Apple PR rep later sent Gizmodo the following statement:

Apple is committed to treating everyone with dignity and respect. When we receive complaints or hear that employees are concerned about their work environment, we take it very seriously and we investigate claims thoroughly. If we find behaviour to be at odds with our values, we take action. Out of respect for the privacy of our employees, we do not discuss specific matters or their resolution.

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