Apple CEO outed on CNBC

Jul 3, 2014

Credit JR / Flickr

The gaffe came during a discussion with New York Times columnist Jim Stewart, who was on "Squawk Box" talking about his piece dealing with corporate culture and gay executives. Co-anchor Simon Hobbs commented on what he believed to be public information, and turned out to be the opposite.  Missouri School of Journalism professors Amanda Hinnant, Jim Flink and Amy Simons discuss the issue.

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Stewart told the anchors on the show that he received a surprisingly "cool reception" from almost every gay CEO with whom he talked and none of them allowed their names to be printed in Stewart's column.

Co-anchor Simon Hobbs responded with what he thought was common knowledge.

Well I think Tim Cook is fairly open about the fact that he’s gay at the head of Apple, isn’t he?

"I refuse to out anybody," said Stewart after a weighty pause.

Missouri School of Journalism Professor Jim Flink said a public figure's sexual orientation should only be a question if it becomes part of the news process.

When something happens in some way, shape or form that now elevates that part of their profile to a more newsworthy status, then you start to talk about it. And until then, it really shouldn't be relevant to anything.