Apple has reportedly turned down a customer’s request to engrave a protest slogan on a newly bought Apple Pencil.
The customer, alias Mr. Chan, told Apple Daily that he got a call from an Apple employee on Wednesday saying that their “higher-ups didn’t approve” of his proposed inscription, “Liberate HKERS.”
When Chan pressed for the reason behind this ban, the employee repeated that the decision came from their higher-ups and they were simply following orders to contact the customer.
Chan said he ordered an Apple Pencil on Oct. 27 and was expecting its delivery today. But he got an email from Apple yesterday asking him to provide his phone number so that employees could get in touch with him.
As a self-described “loyal Apple fan,” Chan said he was disappointed by the company’s decision. He said “liberate HKERS” was a “neutral phrase” and questioned their disregard of Hongkongers’ right to free speech.
“They didn’t even send me an email because they didn’t want it written down in black and white,” Chan said.
He also emailed Apple asking them to explain the incident and clarify their standards for customized inscriptions, which the company offers free with the purchase of products including AirPods and iPads.
Coconuts reached out to Apple for comment but has not heard back at the time of writing.
This is not the first time Apple is said to have silenced support for the city’s pro-democracy movement.
In August, managers reportedly banned employees from wearing lanyards with Memojis–or customizable emoji characters–with yellow or black accessories. Yellow masks or ones with the word “Hong Kong” on them were also not allowed, activist Joshua Wong said.