Salmon: Media should report that Apple CEO Tim Cook is gay

Reuters
In all the coverage of Tim Cook taking over for Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple, the media is shying away from reporting that Cook is gay, writes Felix Salmon. He notes that the Financial Times’ Tim Bradshaw was roundly criticized when he noted it in a tweet, as was Gawker when it published a story in January. Even if Cook’s sexuality is irrelevant to his leadership of Apple, Salmon writes that it’s newsworthy “that the ranks of big-company CEOs have just become significantly more diverse. … There’s no ethical dilemma when it comes to reporting on Cook’s sexuality: rather, the ethical dilemma comes in not reporting it, thereby perpetuating the idea that there’s some kind of stigma associated with being gay.” || Related: How do you say he’s gay? | Why 5th Estate addresses Kagan’s sexual orientation & mainstream media ignore it

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  • Anonymous

    No, it’s not relevant and it has not been proven. We see here the desire of some in the media to use Mr. Cook as a diversity bean. Even at the cost of his privacy. Even with few facts.

    Unless you find the guy using corporate money to woo a former Cinemax C-movie actress or actor, it’s not worthy of even rumormongering on Gawker.

    Maybe it’s the little Ayn Rand in me, but I’d prefer not see an individual’s right to sexual privacy sacrificed on the alter of the media’s Diversity Bean Counting and Cheerleading temple. No offense, Jim H., but people have a right not be made examples of — even positive examples.

    If he comes out of his home (not the closet), and announces he’s gay — run with it. Until then, it’s beneath even Gawker.

  • http://twitter.com/phearlez Don Whiteside

    Foo. I think people’s PRIVATE LIFE is private – straight, gay, furry, whatever. If Cook decides to make a public statement or take a position, absolutely, it should be reported on. If someone is doing the sort of profile where they’re report on a straight CEO’s spouse/partner then sure, give equal treatment and respect to his romantic life. But “oh hey, look who’s gay” is salacious gossip. Involuntary outing and crappy paparazzi stalking is shitty whether you’re doing it to get someone thrown out of the military or to make them their golden god.

    Personally I’ll be delighted to have a high-profile powerful business leader who’s out and gay, just as I will be happy to see out pro athletes. But it’s THEIR decision to make, not ours.

  • http://twitter.com/AustinWulf Austin Wulf

    Being straight isn’t private because it’s assumed, but who people are attracted to is their business and certainly has nothing to do with their job. If Cook had said in an interview, “Hey, I’m gay,” that would have been his prerogative. But in a story about his new position as CEO, his sexual orientation is irrelevant and should be left out.

    This is not a “straight v. gay” issue, it’s an issue of whether Cook’s orientation should be mentioned at all.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XYF3QSKFNHJ6PSNNHJBRFTT7AM Joe

    Surprise: Straight media critics think being gay is “private.” As ever, the closet exists to make straight people feel comfortable if not superior.

    What you have is a life but all gays have is “sexuality.”

  • http://www.poynter.org Poynter

    To your last point, JIm, yes, that’s what Felix is saying. As to whether Gawker is the only source, there’s also this, which is linked in his post: http://www.out.com/power50/?slideshow_title=Fifth-Annual-Power-50&theID=2#Top

    Steve Myers

  • http://www.poynter.org Poynter

    To your last point, JIm, yes, that’s what Felix is saying. As to whether Gawker is the only source, there’s also this, which is linked in his post: http://www.out.com/power50/?slideshow_title=Fifth-Annual-Power-50&theID=2#Top

    Steve Myers

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=609776098 Jim Hopkins

    As near as I can tell, the source on Tim Cook’s being gay is but one: Gawker. 

    It first speculated that Cook might be gay in November 2008. Then, in January of this year, it wrote: “We’ve since heard from two well-placed sources that this is indeed the case, and it sounds like Cook’s sexual orientation has been the topic of at least some discussion within the company.”

    So, all the chatter in the past 24 hours appears to be based on that single report. Maybe it’s not true.

    However, if Cook is indeed gay, that’s big news — whether he wishes or not. Not so many years ago, gays and lesbians were routinely fired over their sexuality. Now, a company that on some days is the biggest in the world may, indeed, be led by a gay man. Wouldn’t that be a sea change worth reporting?

  • http://twitter.com/FitnessExecDWH Dakota Hart

    His uniqueness will be applied at work and will inspire others to be authentic in spite of others. It may well be what gives him his desire to be the best, to overcome stigma of sexual preference. His source of strength will be his ability to continue to perform, withstand scrutiny and overcome Tech industry homophobia. HE is in a powerful position NOT because he is a business CEO that can innovate, create and make money …Any CEO can do this but his perceived issue is in fact Humanities issue. His openness will inspire others to greatness, his position will foster others with stigmas to overcome and contribute to society.  I’m thinking blueprint for Human Unity.

  • http://twitter.com/FitnessExecDWH Dakota Hart

    His uniqueness will be applied at work and will inspire others to be authentic in spite of others. It may well be what gives him his desire to be the best, to overcome stigma of sexual preference. His source of strength will be his ability to continue to perform, withstand scrutiny and overcome Tech industry homophobia. HE is in a powerful position NOT because he is a business CEO that can innovate, create and make money …Any CEO can do this but his perceived issue is in fact Humanities issue. His openness will inspire others to greatness, his position will foster others with stigmas to overcome and contribute to society.  I’m thinking blueprint for Human Unity.

  • http://twitter.com/FitnessExecDWH Dakota Hart

    His uniqueness will be applied at work and will inspire others to be authentic in spite of others. It may well be what gives him his desire to be the best, to overcome stigma of sexual preference. His source of strength will be his ability to continue to perform, withstand scrutiny and overcome Tech industry homophobia. HE is in a powerful position NOT because he is a business CEO that can innovate, create and make money …Any CEO can do this but his perceived issue is in fact Humanities issue. His openness will inspire others to greatness, his position will foster others with stigmas to overcome and contribute to society.  I’m thinking blueprint for Human Unity.

  • http://twitter.com/FitnessExecDWH Dakota Hart

    His uniqueness will be applied at work and will inspire others to be authentic in spite of others. It may well be what gives him his desire to be the best, to overcome stigma of sexual preference. His source of strength will be his ability to continue to perform, withstand scrutiny and overcome Tech industry homophobia. HE is in a powerful position NOT because he is a business CEO that can innovate, create and make money …Any CEO can do this but his perceived issue is in fact Humanities issue. His openness will inspire others to greatness, his position will foster others with stigmas to overcome and contribute to society.  I’m thinking blueprint for Human Unity.

  • http://twitter.com/FitnessExecDWH Dakota Hart

    His uniqueness will be applied at work and will inspire others to be authentic in spite of others. It may well be what gives him his desire to be the best, to overcome stigma of sexual preference. His source of strength will be his ability to continue to perform, withstand scrutiny and overcome Tech industry homophobia. HE is in a powerful position NOT because he is a business CEO that can innovate, create and make money …Any CEO can do this but his perceived issue is in fact Humanities issue. His openness will inspire others to greatness, his position will foster others with stigmas to overcome and contribute to society.  I’m thinking blueprint for Human Unity.

  • http://twitter.com/FitnessExecDWH Dakota Hart

    His uniqueness will be applied at work and will inspire others to be authentic in spite of others. It may well be what gives him his desire to be the best, to overcome stigma of sexual preference. His source of strength will be his ability to continue to perform, withstand scrutiny and overcome Tech industry homophobia. HE is in a powerful position NOT because he is a business CEO that can innovate, create and make money …Any CEO can do this but his perceived issue is in fact Humanities issue. His openness will inspire others to greatness, his position will foster others with stigmas to overcome and contribute to society.  I’m thinking blueprint for Human Unity.

  • Anonymous

    I think the journalist should think about HOW to report the issue, the relevance that it’s going to get in the article.
    Is it relevant this issue for his new position?

  • http://twitter.com/eariess Eric Riess

    Ron, Couldn’t agree more. There is no question that when a new CEO takes over, his family, would have been noted – probably near the end of the story. The only question, and this is Mr. Cook’s preference, is what terminology. I have gay friends who say they are in a committed relationship, others who say they are married and refer to themselves as husband and wife, and others who just say they are domestic partners. Maybe he just wants to say he is single, that’s OK too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ken.fisher3 Ken Fisher

    Steve Jobs marital life has received very, very little press treatment. I’ve been asking around just as an informal experiment: only the biggest nerds I know know anything about Jobs love life and his children, which is astounding when you consider Lisa.

    In any case, Steve Jobs marital life and children are a matter of public record. Tim Cook’s private life is not. Tim Cook has clearly preferred it this way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=583458310 Ron Hayes

    If Mr. Cook were married–to a woman–with, say, two children, I suspect the media would report this as part of a general profile of the man. But would it be at all relevant to his new position? Of course not. It’s only when sexual orientation is involved that the details of a prominent public figure’s life are suddenly ignored.

  • Anonymous

    You really are something. It’s OK to own up to being wrong, you know. The item is about how the media as a whole is doing precisely what you think it should do. It’s a *complaint* about that. *That’s* the subject of the item. And yet you’ve decided that this item is emblematic of the whole media’s thinking. When confronted with the logical knot you’ve tied, you decided that, because Reuters (well, one Reuters opinion columnist) and Gawker (!) are parts of the media, that’s what the whole media does. You must see where you went wrong here. You simply must.

    This kind of thing wouldn’t happen to you if you weren’t so intent not only on hewing to your preconceived notions at all costs, but on coming in here in the first place with the mission merely of tweaking people. Which is a weird hobby, though surprisingly common. ”Grrr, I’m a commenter, dammit, and I’m going to comment this comment no matter what anybody comments, even if comment comments the comment with comment. Comment! COMMENT!”

  • Anonymous

    Reuters and Gawker are not part of the media? Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, apparently.

  • Anonymous

    Reuters and Gawker are not part of the media? Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, apparently.

  • Anonymous

    Of course, this item is about how “the media” *isn’t* mentioning it to further its “PC quest.” The mental twists you make to make sure you’re sticking to script would be fascinating to watch if they weren’t so tiresome, common, and disheartening. 

  • Anonymous

    Of course, this item is about how “the media” *isn’t* mentioning it to further its “PC quest.” The mental twists you make to make sure you’re sticking to script would be fascinating to watch if they weren’t so tiresome, common, and disheartening. 

  • http://twitter.com/phearlez Don Whiteside

    Salmon couldn’t be more wrong. By not reporting a private matter that Cook hasn’t commented on the media is doing the exact right and ethical thing. It’s no more a reflection on any stigma than it is when no comment is made about a public figure being straight. That’s precisely why Bradshaw was (rightly) criticized – by merely mentioning this irrelevant trait in a “oh hey I didn’t know” way he descended to gossip about a person’s private life.

    If Salmon can point to occasions when a media outlet deliberately avoided mentioning Cook getting married or introducing a partner to others while presenting as a public figure, fine. Until then he’s just decrying the lack of gossip.

  • Anonymous

    It’s sad that in the media’s PC quest to promote diversity issues, a man’s sexuality has to be discussed in front of the world — and his shareholders. I wouldn’t mention it. It’s media silliness — at best. At worst, it’s invasion of privacy.