(CBS SF) — Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is notoriously private about his life and his lifestyle, but Friday, CNBC Squawk on the Street host Simon Hobbs blurted, “Tim Cook is fairly open about the fact that he’s gay at the head of Apple, isn’t he?”, only to be met with stunned silence.
The panel had been discussing New York Times columnist Jim Stewart’s attempts to talk with gay CEOs and the fact that CEOs refused to discuss their orientation, despite so much cultural acceptance of the gay lifestyle.
That’s when Hobbs mentioned Cook’s orientation, and quickly added, “Oh dear, was that an error?”
Steward replied, “I’m not going to out anybody.”
The panel feared they had just outed a very public figure on national TV. In truth, they hadn’t. Google “Tim Cook Gay” and the search engine returns dozens of articles about his orientation.
But, Cook himself hasn’t gotten around to telling people that he’s gay.
What Apple’s chief has in fact said is about suffering prejudice, making references to knowing discrimination at a speech last December to Auburn University.
Cook told students, “I’ve experienced many other types of discrimination and all of them were rooted in the fear of people that were different from the majority.”
Out.com lists Cook as one of its 2014 power list designees, but also adds, “Cook has never publicly discussed his sexual orientation, but in December 2013, the Alabama native gave a landmark speech at an event organized by his alma mater, Auburn University, in which he finally discussed suffering personal prejudice.”
After the CNBC panel Friday, the show ground to a halt.