Tim Cook condemns 'repulsive' racist violence in Charlottesville (update)

Apple is working on an iTunes feature that makes it easy to donate to a human rights group.

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Mariella Moon
August 17th, 2017

Tim Cook made his stance about Charlottesville clear enough by tweeting out that "violence and racism have no place in America" as the tragic events were unfolding. This internal letter sent to employees that Recode obtained, however, will give you even more insight into where he stands. Apple's head honcho wrote that Americans must unequivocally reject hate and bigotry in the country. It's not about "left or the right, conservative or liberal," but "about human decency and morality." He stressed that he disagrees with the President and other people who "believe that there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazis, and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights."

Cook also revealed that Apple will be donating $1 million each to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Anti-Defamation League to help both organizations working to get rid of hate. In addition, Apple will match its employees' donations to human rights groups 2-for-1 until September 30th. You can look forward to a new iTunes feature that will make it easy to donate to SPLC, as well.

Over the past few days, the President has lost the support of many other high-profile tech personalities due to his actions. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Jeff Immelt of GE and a list of other executives from other industries left his manufacturing council and other advisory boards following the events in Charlottesville. (Elon Musk peaced out way back when the administration decided to leave the Paris climate agreement.)

Unlike those execs, the Apple CEO never had a close relationship with the President. He worked with Trump when it came to tax reform and used his influence to talk to the President's people about improving LGBTQ+ rights, but he butted heads with the administration over the Muslim immigration ban and its stance on climate change. His position might not be that surprising, but it's good to know where people, especially powerful ones like Cook, stand. Here's the CEO's full letter to his employees:


Like so many of you, equality is at the core of my beliefs and values. The events of the past several days have been deeply troubling for me, and I've heard from many people at Apple who are saddened, outraged or confused.

What occurred in Charlottesville has no place in our country. Hate is a cancer, and left unchecked it destroys everything in its path. Its scars last generations. History has taught us this time and time again, both in the United States and countries around the world.

We must not witness or permit such hate and bigotry in our country, and we must be unequivocal about it. This is not about the left or the right, conservative or liberal. It is about human decency and morality. I disagree with the president and others who believe that there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazis, and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights. Equating the two runs counter to our ideals as Americans.

Regardless of your political views, we must all stand together on this one point — that we are all equal. As a company, through our actions, our products and our voice, we will always work to ensure that everyone is treated equally and with respect.

I believe Apple has led by example, and we're going to keep doing that. We have always welcomed people from every walk of life to our stores around the world and showed them that Apple is inclusive of everyone. We empower people to share their views and express themselves through our products.

In the wake of the tragic and repulsive events in Charlottesville, we are stepping up to help organizations who work to rid our country of hate. Apple will be making contributions of $1 million each to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. We will also match two-for-one our employees' donations to these and several other human rights groups, between now and September 30.

In the coming days, iTunes will offer users an easy way to join us in directly supporting the work of the SPLC.

Dr. Martin Luther King said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." So, we will continue to speak up. These have been dark days, but I remain as optimistic as ever that the future is bright. Apple can and will play an important role in bringing about positive change.


Update: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also issued a statement earlier in the day denouncing neo-Nazism and white supremacy, though he didn't mention the President like Cook did:

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