In reporting on gay chief executives,
CNBC and NPR repeated the rumor that Apple CEO Tim Cook is openly
The driver behind both stories was the
publication of The
Glass Closet: Why Coming Out is Good for Business by John
Browne, who resigned as chief executive of British oil giant BP after
he was outed in 2007.
talked with Browne – Lord Browne of Madingley – about the CEO
landscape. During the interview, he stated: “Certainly, if you
look at the S&P 500, there isn't one out, gay CEO.”
A reader wrote in to correct Browne,
saying Cook is openly gay, and NPR host Melissa Block read the letter
on the air without challenging the assertion.
“Peter Tenney of Baltimore writes: In
point of fact, Tim Cook of Apple is openly gay,” Block
Similarly, CNBC's Squawk on the
Street hosted New
York Times columnist James R. Stewart to discuss a profile
on Browne he wrote.
“There are gay CEOs in major
companies, and I reached out to many of them,” Stewart said on the
program. “I got an extremely cool reception. Not one would allow
to be named at all.”
“I think Tim Cook is fairly open
about the fact he's gay at the head of Apple, isn't he?” co-host
Simon Hobbs asked.
“Hmm, no,” Stewart awkwardly
replied. “I don't want to comment about anybody who might or might
not be. I'm not going to out anybody.” (The video is embedded on
this page. Visit
our video library for more videos.)
While Cook has not denied the rumor –
made persistent by frequent mentions in Out's annual Power 50
list and his strong support for LGBT workplace protections – he's
also never publicly discussed his sexual orientation.