Apple chief criticises Trump over reaction to Charlottesville violence

Tim Cook ‘strongly disagreed’ with US president’s response to violence in Virginia

Apple chief executive Tim Cook: “We must not witness or permit such hate and bigotry in our country, and we must be unequivocal about it.”

Apple chief executive Tim Cook: “We must not witness or permit such hate and bigotry in our country, and we must be unequivocal about it.”

 

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has belatedly joined other US business leaders in criticising president Donald Trump over his reaction to the recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In an email sent to Apple employees late on Wednesday, Mr Cook said he strongly disagreed with Mr Trump’s response to the weekend’s events, which left a 32-year-old woman dead when a suspected white nationalist crashed his car into anti-racist demonstrators.

He added that Apple would donate $1 million each to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League, and would match employee donations to human rights groups.

“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,” he wrote in the email to staff. “Equating the two runs counter to our ideals as Americans.”

“What occurred in Charlottesville has no place in our country,” Mr Cook said. “Hate is a cancer, and left unchecked it destroys everything in its path. Its scars last generations.”

Criticised

Mr Trump has been heavily criticised from across the political spectrum and from other business leaders after insisting counter-protesters were also to blame for the recent violence.

The president on Wednesday disbanded two high-profile business advisory councils on Wednesday after corporate chief executives quit in protest at his remarks blaming violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, not only on white nationalists but also on the protesters who opposed them.

Mr Trump announced the break-up of the advisory councils after 3M’s Inge Thulin became the latest of several chief executives including the heads of Merck, Intel and Under Armour, to leave his American Manufacturing Council, and the president’s strategic and policy forum broke up of its own will.

Apple on Wednesday followed in the footsteps of Visa, MasterCard, American Express and PayPal by cutting off support for white supremacist websites using its online payments service, Apple Pay.

It also comes as GoDaddy and Google terminated domain registration services for the Neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer.

Tim Cook’s email to Apple employees:

Team,

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.

Best,

Tim