Who is Tim Cook's friend

Can the new Apple boss be gay in the media?


Tim Cook is the new head of one of the largest companies in the world (Image: lemagit / Flickr / by-sa 2.0)

Last week Tim Cook was named Apple's new boss - there is now a debate in the media as to whether the 50-year-old's homosexuality should play a role in reporting.

In January, the gossip magazine gawker.com called Cook the "most powerful gays in Silicon Valley" (queer.de reported). At that time, the manager temporarily became the managing director of Apple because Steve Jobs had to slow down due to illness. In April, the gay magazine "Out" put the new strong man in first place in the "Power 50 Index", the list of the most powerful gays and lesbians in the world. Cook became the new CEO on August 24 - and the media around the world have so far ignored Cook's sexuality.

In the USA, the "Reuters" business journalist Felix Salmon has opened a debate about Cook. Under the title "Don't ignore Tim Cook's Sexuality" he argues in his blog that the media should also mention the homosexuality of the new Apple boss. Cook can act as a role model because he is an "extremely intelligent and non-feminine man who shows that being gay is not an obstacle on the way to the top." Ignoring sexuality, on the other hand, is a relic from the old days when social homophobia made coming out impossible. Salmon explained in another text ("Why I'm talking about Tim Cook's sexuality") that the media ultimately pretended that Cook was heterosexual with their reporting - and thus further contributed to the stigmatization of gays and lesbians.

Spiegel.de also reports on the "bachelor" Tim Cook

This is also visible in the German media: In a long article, spiegel.de described the new Apple boss as a "bachelor" - sexual orientation was completely hidden. taz columnist Elmar Kraushaar criticized this description as "the most common of all disguises".

Cook does not comment on his sexuality, even if it is an open secret in Silicon Valley. The hesitant attitude was a result of his socialization as a manager, wrote gawker.com back in January. He began his career at IBM in the 1980s - at a time when the AIDS hysteria in the USA made coming out on the executive floor practically impossible. Even today, Cook could fear that an open commitment to his homosexuality could damage the Apple brand, even though it has been considered very gay-friendly for years (queer.de reported).

Sexuality also a private matter for business leaders?

Some commentators reply to those in favor of open coverage of Cook that "outing" is an invasion of privacy even today. Erik Sherman writes in the business portal bnet.com that gay activists wanted to use the new Apple boss of gay activists for their goals without asking him: "If Cook wants to talk about his sexuality or if the topic is important for his position at Apple, then you can report on it, "said Sherman. Until then, it is unethical to use Cook as a "tool" for one's own interests. The political magazine "The Atlantic" states that the 50-year-old is currently not a perfect role model anyway: "In order to become the most powerful gay in the technology industry, Cook first has to come out". (dk)