Oh dear, was that an error?
Things got a bit awkward for CNBC’s Squawk on the Street when one of the show’s co-hosts accidentally “outed” Apple CEO Tim Cook as being gay. New York Times columnist James R. Stewart joined the panel to discuss his latest piece profiling John Browne, the former CEO of BP, and his “tortured life” living as the gay chief executive of a Fortune 500 company. “You’d think CEOs especially are measured by objective criteria, financial performance,” Stewart said, and yet there’s a corporate culture that prevents powerful gay men from going public.
“There are gay CEOs in major companies, and I reached out to many of them,” he informed the hosts. “I got an extremely cool reception, not one would allow to be named at all.”
Enter co-host Simon Hobbs: “I think Tim Cook is fairly open about the fact he’s gay at the head of Apple, isn’t he?”
Silence from the panel. Everyone turned to look at Stewart, who responded, “Hmm, no.”
“Oh, dear, was that an error?” Hobbs asked. “I thought he was open about it.”
After shaking his head in disappointment with Hobbs, Stewart said: “I don’t want to comment about anybody who might or might not be. I’m not going to out anybody.”
Despite long-standing assertions that Cook is gay, the CEO has neither publicly confirmed nor denied the fact.
Watch the video of the incident below.
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