We live in a country where being gay is far less of a big deal than it used to be. There are still some fairly serious issues, but we are rapidly moving towards an America where being gay is accepted and no big deal. Unless, for some reason, you’re talking about Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple.
Take this CNBC panel about gay CEOs. Ostensibly it was about John Browne, the former CEO of BP, and why and how he couldn’t be openly gay, which, by the way, is a fascinating piece about business. Then Cook’s name comes up and the entire panel slams to a halt, before the host mutters this:
“I don’t want to comment about anybody who might or might not be. I’m not going to out anybody.”
What’s weird about this is that it’s not a secret that Tim Cook is gay. Cook himself rarely discusses his personal life, although he has discussed what it feels like to be discriminated against in oblique terms. The consensus seems to be that Cook feels his personal life would be a distraction from his job at Apple, which makes sense and is in line with his personality.
And it’d be one thing if the tech press were following Cook’s lead and just treating his personal life as incidental to their jobs, which, well, it is. Instead the entire tech press acts like he has some sort of bizarre secret that dare not speak its name. Even the New York Times tiptoes right up to the line, but doesn’t quite have the fortitude to state the facts. The CNBC panel that started all this acts less like they’re acknowledging Cook might be more into Anderson Cooper than Megyn Kelly and more like somebody just accused him of eating babies.
Apple doesn’t care about Cook’s personal life; it wouldn’t have hired him and kept promoting him until he was handpicked to become CEO of the company if it had. Apple’s customers clearly don’t care either; iPads and iPhone have continued to sell by the ton and will probably do so for the foreseeable future. The only people who seem to care, who seem to think it’s a big deal we have to be all hush-hush about, is the tech press. Maybe instead of acting like Cook is keeping a secret, they could try acting like he’s a human being.