CNBC Host Accidentally Outs Apple CEO Tim Cook During A Live Segment

Then awkwardly backtracks: “Oh dear, was that an error?”

1. CNBC’s “Squawk On The Street” segment took a turn for the extremely awkward today as the panel discussed the lack of openly gay CEOs in large companies.


New York Times columnist James B. Stewart appeared as a guest to discuss his column about former BP CEO John Browne. “There are gay CEOs in major companies, and I reached out to many of them,” Stewart said. “I got an extremely cool reception, not one would allow to be named at all.”

2. During the discussion, co-anchor Simon Hobbs chimes in with this comment:

3. The desk falls completely silent.


4. Hobbs backtracks quickly adding, “I thought he was open about it.”

5. Stewart’s response: “Hmm, no.”

6. Stewart continues, “I don’t want to comment about anybody who might or might not be. I’m not going to out anybody.”

7. Though Cook has yet to speak directly about his sexual orientation, he consistently speaks about LGBT rights as a human rights issue.

I applaud @WhiteHouse decision to ban #LGBT discrimination at fed contractors. House must act on #ENDA. A matter of basic human dignity.

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook)

8. The CEO was named the most powerful LGBT person on Out’s 2013 power list.

Robert Galbraith / Reuters / Reuters

CNBC declined to comment. A request for comment to Apple representative Nat Kerris was not immediately returned.

10. Watch the full segment:

View this embed ›

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Sarah Karlan is the Deputy LGBT Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Sarah Karlan at
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