In his Bloomberg Businessweek column today, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that yes, he is gay. “While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now,” he writes. “So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.”
When something is not quite a secret, but also never confirmed as fact, it can present pitfalls to people who talk about CEOs on television, like Simon Hobbs, the CNBC anchor who accidentally outed Cook on air in June. Hobbs was part of a panel discussion with New York Times columnist Jim Stewart, who’d just written a story about the small number of openly gay CEOs–and how those believed to be gay declined to talk about it for his story:
“I got an extremely cool reception,” he recalled, adding that “not one would allow to be named at all.”
“I think Tim Cook is open about the fact he’s gay at the head of Apple,” Hobbs said. “Isn’t he?”
An awkward silence followed as Hobbs quickly realized his snafu.
“Hmm, no,” Stewart said shaking his head.