Tony Blevins, a former senior vice president of operations at Apple Inc., died in a car crash on Tuesday, January 3, 2023, in Muskogee, Oklahoma. He was 59 years old. Blevins had a long and successful career in the tech industry, working for Apple for 22 years until he was fired last September over a controversial TikTok video. He is survived by his wife and two children.
A Leader in the Tech Industry
Blevins joined Apple in 2001 as a director of procurement, responsible for negotiating contracts with suppliers and managing the company’s supply chain. He rose through the ranks to become one of the 30 vice presidents who reported directly to the CEO and CTO. He was known as “The Blevinator” for his tough and effective negotiating skills, which helped Apple reduce costs and improve quality in its production. He also played a key role in launching some of the company’s most iconic products, such as the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.
According to Forbes, Blevins had a net worth of $4 million, which he earned through his base salary of approximately $244,000 per year, plus bonuses, shares, commissions, and profit sharing. He was regarded as a great leader and mentor by his colleagues and peers, who praised his vision, innovation, and dedication.
A Controversial TikTok Video
Blevins’ career at Apple came to an abrupt end in September 2022, when he was fired over a vulgar TikTok video that went viral. In the video, filmed by a TikToker named @ItsDanielMac, Blevins was asked what he did for a living as he exited his Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren with his wife at a car show. He replied, “I race cars, play golf and fondle big-breasted women. But I take weekends and major holidays off. Also, if you’re interested, I’ve got a hell of a dental plan.”
Blevins later said that his remark was a reference to a quote from the character Dudley Moore in the 1981 comedy movie “Arthur”. He said he was sorry to anyone offended by his joke, but felt that Apple had overreacted by firing him without further investigation. He said he felt “humiliated” and “shocked” by the company’s decision, which he said “dissolved” his 22 years of service in 25 seconds. He also said he tried to have the video taken down, but was unsuccessful.
According to the New York Post, Blevins received a phone call from another Apple executive in the middle of the night, demanding that he find a way to remove the video. He said he declined Apple’s request for his resignation and was eventually fired without receiving severance. He said he felt that Apple had “damaged his reputation” and “betrayed” him.
Apple declined to comment on Blevins’ remarks, but reportedly reassigned the employees who reported to him throughout the company’s operations division. The Wall Street Journal said that Blevins’ firing drew a mixed response from his former Apple employees, with some saying they had never witnessed him engage in unprofessional behavior and others asserting his remark had crossed a line and warranted dismissal.
A Tragic End
Blevins’ life came to a tragic end on Tuesday, January 3, 2023, when he was involved in a fatal car crash in Muskogee, Oklahoma. According to Lescher Millsap Funeral Service, Blevins passed away suddenly at the scene of the accident. The details of the crash are not yet known, but it is believed that Blevins was driving his Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, a rare and expensive sports car that can reach speeds of over 200 mph.
Blevins is survived by his wife, who was also in the car but survived the crash, and his two children, who were not in the car. He also leaves behind his parents, siblings, and other relatives and friends. A funeral service will be held on Saturday, January 7, 2023, at the First Baptist Church in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Blevins will be remembered as a loving husband, father, son, brother, and friend, as well as a brilliant and influential figure in the tech industry.