CNBC “Squawk on the Street” cohost Simon Hobbs had a bit of a gaffe Friday morning.
During a discussion with New York Times columnist James Stewart about his column on the lack of high-profile gay executives companies, Hobbs said, Apple CEO Tim Cook was “openly gay.”
The claim was met with silence by others.
Hobbs then said, “Oh, dear, was that an error? I thought he was open about it.I don’t want to comment about anybody who might or might not be. I’m not going to out anybody.”
We saw the clip at Re/code, where Kara Swisher posted it.
Cook has never spoken about his sexual orientation although there has been a lot of chatter in the industry about his sexual orientation. Tech gossip site Valleywag has said Cook is gay since 2011. Gay magazine Out has included Cook in its power list. Again, Cook has never come out either way in public.
The mainstream press has always danced around the issue. For instance, the New York Times wrote the following in a big profile of Cook:
He often quotes Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy but doesn’t much talk about the origin of his political views. The speech he gave last December, in which Mr. Cook mentioned the cross-burning, started to give some hints. “Since these early days,” he said, “I have seen, and I have experienced, many other types of discrimination.” All of those, he continued, “were rooted in a fear of people that were different than the majority.” Apple declined to say what he meant by the reference to discrimination he experienced, but it did confirm the details of the cross-burning story.
Cook has been an advocate for the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which would make it illegal for employers to fire someone based on their sexual orientation. Cook wrote an open letter in the Wall Street Journal last fall urging congress to pass the act.
You can watch the clip below. At the 1 minute mark you can see the Cook remarks.