CNBC Unwittingly Outs Apple's Tim Cook – But Didn’t Everyone Know?

Jacob Harper  |

Even if he does head up the world’s largest company, whether or not Cook is gay should not be anyone’s business but his own. But after the co-host of CNBC program Squawk Box flatly stated that he is, there’s little question that the world is going to make it its business.

New York Times columnist Jim Stewart appeared on the June 27 edition of Squawk Box to discuss former BP (BP) CEO John Browne coming out as gay after his escort scandal. Stewart noted that despite the rash of people coming out in less tolerant fields like professional football,  gay CEOs are loathe to go on record about their sexuality.  “Of course, there are gay CEOs, and I reached out to several of them, and I got an extremely cool reception,” Stewart said.

“I think Tim Cook is open about the fact he's gay at the head of Apple (AAPL) , isn't he?” Hobbs replied.

No, no he wasn’t. The awkward silences that followed Hobbs’ are pretty hard to watch. But they make sense, as it’s highly inappropriate to out someone until they decide to do so themselves.

But is Tim Cook not out? Tim Cook has twice been included in Out Magazine’s Power List. Gawker site Valleywag has been claiming Cook is gay for years. And Reuters blogger Felix Salmon called him “the most powerful gay man in the world” back in 2011.

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But the Apple CEO has indeed never officially made an official statement regarding his sexuality. Besides once obliquely commenting that he “ha(s) seen, and ha(s) experienced, many other types of discrimination,” he has never made a public allusion to his sexuality.

But it does appear that outside of allusions from gay magazines, Silicon Valley gossip rags, and one the world’s most esteemed news bureaus, Cook himself has never confirmed his own sexuality.

Of course, this shouldn’t matter whether or not Cook is gay. But the world obviously cares if the head of the mega company is, and whether or not he chooses to disclose such. And now, thanks to an offhand comment on a financial television show, Cook will have to answer the question.


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