Apple's Tim Cook says 'proud to be gay'

Updated: 2014-10-30 23:04


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Apple's Tim Cook says 'proud to be gay'

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California, Oct 27, 2014.[Photo/Agencies]

Apple's Tim Cook says 'proud to be gay'

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Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook said Thursday that he is "proud to be gay", publicly acknowledging his sexuality and becoming the most prominent executive of a public comment to come out as gay.

The announcement in an essay in Bloomberg Businessweek was a surprise because Cook has been known to be very private. While he had never openly addressed his sexuality, it was known among Apple watchers and tech industry insiders.

"While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven't publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me," Cook wrote.

He wrote that for years he has been open about his sexuality with many people:

"Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I'm gay, and it doesn't seem to make a difference in the way they treat me. Of course, I've had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people's differences. Not everyone is so lucky."

According to a Deloitte report, 83 percent of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people hide aspects of their identity at work.

In his essay,Cook wrote that it "wasn't an easy choice" to publicly disclose that he is gay because "privacy remains important to me", but if it could help others "struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it's worth the trade-off with my own privacy."

Apple Chairman Art Levinson said Cook's announcement was "courageous" and "will help advance the cause of equality and inclusion far beyond the business world," according to CNBC. "On behalf of the board and our entire company, we are incredibly proud to have Tim leading Apple."

A popular gay and lesbian magazine, Out, had placed Cook at the top of its annual top 50 list of gay people in 2013. Cook's sexuality was commented on recently when a panelist on a current events show airing on the US cable news channel CNBC said that he was gay.

The Chinese Internet was ablaze with comments within an hour of the news. The topic shot up to top the list of Sina Weibo's hot topics with more than 10,000 comments, which ranged from supportive to humorous.

"This (the announcement) truly deserves the phrase, I love you, regardless of orientation," wrote Xingkong Xiade Linghan Another user by the handle Zoe wrote, "Job's idol Alan Turing was gay, his death inspired the Apple logo. Now Apple's current CEO, Cook, has come out. How can I not be happy? Homosexual people are very creative! For those of you who ridicule, mock and harass gays, if you've got the ability, why don't you drop your Apple products!"

Cook's disclosure could affect Apple as a company in parts of the world with conservative views of sexuality.

Apple has had a successful fiscal year brought about by the release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The Cupertino, California-based company reported fourth-quarter revenue of $42.1 billion.