Cupertino, Calif. Mayor Barry Chang had some awfully strong words in a recent interview about Apple, the biggest company in his city, including talk of it abusing his hometown.
But in a statement released late on Thursday, he says that he was misquoted in the piece by the Guardian and that the article had “several factual errors.”
“I was shocked and dismayed to see a recent article quoting me with words I never used and describing situations that never happened,” Chang said in a statement. “Other situations reported in the article absolutely have no bearing on anything that I may have said or anything that has happened in this community. The reporter clearly misunderstood.”
Chang caused a firestorm on Thursday when he was quoted by The Guardian as saying that Apple was “not willing to pay a dime” to the city. He reportedly added that despite the company’s profitability, “they abuse us.”
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Chang, who is running for a California Assembly seat and would leave his position as Cupertino’s mayor if he wins the election, wasn’t done criticizing Apple in the interview. According to The Guardian, he said that he was once stopped from trying to enter Apple’s campus and escorted out by security. The Guardian quoted Chang as saying that Apple’s security told him “you cannot come in, you’re not invited.”
The Guardian has since updated its article, saying that it “incorrectly suggested Barry Chang’s complaint, ‘they abuse us’, was a reference to Apple.” Instead, Chang now says he was “referring to frustrated local residents” who abuse the city council and mayor, and not Apple, The Guardian says.
Chang also asked The Guardian to clarify that while he was asked to leave when he visited the company’s campus unannounced, he wasn’t actually escorted off the campus.
Still, his comments against Apple, which include concerns with the company causing traffic congestion and, in his mind, not paying enough in taxes, were strong, to say the least. Indeed, Chang has been quite vocal about his issues with Apple, going so far as to call on the company to give the city it calls home $100 million to address infrastructure and traffic congestion problems, among other issues.
For its part, Apple (AAPL) told Fortune on Thursday that it’s Cupertino’s biggest taxpayer and that it pays tens of millions of dollars in city taxes annually. Apple has long argued that it pays its “fair share of taxes” both locally and abroad, despite frequent criticism to the contrary. The company has refused to pay more.
Despite the corrections in the Guardian article, the comments that did survive were biting. Chang did not immediately respond to a request for comment.