- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Civil rights activist Al Sharpton suggested in a radio broadcast making the rounds on YouTube that Apple is too white and needs to add some black faces to executive-level positions.

“[There are] no blacks on the board of Apple,” Mr. Sharpton said Tuesday on conservative blogger Brian Maloney’s “Radio Equalizer” broadcast. “We buying up all this Apple stuff and can’t get a bite.”

Sharpton, who made the remarks Apple was due to release the latest version of the iPhone, is heard on the broadcast saying: “Ah, now today the iPhone comes out … that is, of course, produced by Apple and Apple is one of those companies — I mean, we do a tremendous amount of business in our community with Apple, yet we’re not on their boards and there is no evidence they do a lot of advertising or a lot of contracting in our community.”

Mr. Sharpton was speaking to another on the show, Earl Graves Jr., a noted New York businessman whose father founded Black Enterprise magazine. Mr. Graves took over the magazine’s operations from his father in 2006, CBS reported.

Mr. Graves concurred with Mr. Sharpton: “They have no African-American directors in the company. They do little to no spending in African-American media. They do little to no spending with procurement with African-American firms. … The corporation in the executive rank looks like the Himalayas — the higher you go the whiter it gets.”

Mr. Sharpton has been accused in the past of shaking down companies with few minorities in leadership roles. In 2006, he was accused of drumming up racial boycotts against several large companies unless they paid cash to his National Action Network nonprofit. Mr. Sharpton denied the accusations, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn launched an investigation into the matter.

In 2003, Mr. Sharpton staged rally at a DaimlerChrysler Chicago auto show and threatened to boycott the company, accusing executives of racial bias in car loans. The Chicago Tribune reported at the time that Mr. Sharpton faulted the company for “institutional racism,” marked by “a guy in a business suit shuffling papers.”

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