Black means thief? Apple store kicks out students of African descent over fears 'they might steal'

© Robert Galbraith
A group of black students was asked to leave an Apple store in Melbourne as its employees were “worried they might steal something.” A video of the incident was posted on Facebook, with users accusing the store of racial profiling.

Maribyrnong College students, who moved to Australia as children from Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, Eritrea and Egypt, were denied entry to the store by a staff member and two security guards.

“These guys [security guards] are just a bit worried about your presence in our store. They’re just worried you might steal something,” an Apple staff member says in the video to a group of six black teenagers, aged between 15 and 16 years old.

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One of the teens replies: “Why would we steal something?”

“Guys, end of discussion,” the man cuts off.

One of the students ejected from the store, Mabior Ater, said he never thought something like this would happen.  "...of course I was offended," he told Fairfax Media.

“Racial profiling has to stop, happens too often in America, we don't need it here in Australia too,” another student, Mohamed Semra, wrote in his Facebook post after the incident, thanking thousands of social media users for their support.

"I would take it further, racism is not excused & who knows if they won't try this on another black teen," another user, Fardawsa Shanino, added.

Ironically, a message from Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, states among other things: "We believe in equality for everyone, regardless of race, age, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. That applies throughout our company, around the world with no exceptions."

A senior manager from the Apple store apologized to the students when they returned to the store with their school principal.

An Apple spokeswoman said the company is looking into the incident.