In an op-ed published late Sunday night, Apple CEO Tim Cook expounded upon his earlier remarks on Twitter Friday, saying he was “deeply disappointed” in the recently-passed law in Indiana that shields business owners from turning away customers that might disagree with their religious beliefs.
Cook called the recent wave of legislation to promote discrimination — the law passed in Indiana, and nearly 100 bills currently under consideration in over a dozen states across America — “very dangerous” and says they “go against the very principles our nation was founded on,” adding “they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality.”
America’s business community recognised a long time ago that discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business. At Apple, we are in business to empower and enrich our customers’ lives. We strive to do business in a way that is just and fair. That’s why, on behalf of Apple, I’m standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation — wherever it emerges. I’m writing in the hopes that many more will join this movement. From North Carolina to Nevada, these bills under consideration truly will hurt jobs, growth and the economic vibrancy of parts of the country where a 21st-century economy was once welcomed with open arms.
Cook is very familiar with discrimination. In a New York Times profile from last June, Cook recalled witnessing a group of people from the Ku Klux Klan burning a cross on the lawn of a black family he knew back in the early 1970s. Cook said he yelled “stop” when one of them started breaking the house’s windows but quickly pedaled away once he recognised one of the hooded figures was a deacon from a local church.
“The days of segregation and discrimination marked by “Whites Only” signs on shop doors, water fountains and restrooms must remain deep in our past,” Cook said in his Sunday op-ed. “We must never return to any semblance of that time. America must be a land of opportunity for everyone.”
Cook is one of several tech executives to oppose this wave of controversial, discriminatory bills. Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, announced on Thursday that his company would cancel “all programs that require our customers/employees to travel to Indiana to face discrimination.”
“This isn’t a political issue,” Cook said. “It isn’t a religious issue. This is about how we treat each other as human beings.”