“In a live TV segment of CNBC’s ‘Squawk on the Street’ on Friday, co-anchor Simon Hobbs caused a kerfuffle when he inadvertently ‘outed’ Apple CEO Tim Cook as being openly gay,” Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider. “The gaffe came during a discussion with New York Times columnist and CNBC contributor James Stewart, who was on the show to talk up his latest think piece dealing with corporate culture and gay executives.”

“Specifically, Stewart told ‘Squawk’ anchor Carl Quintanilla that his most recent column focuses on former BP chief John Browne, who recently wrote a book dealing with the ‘tortured life’ he led as a closeted gay CEO. Browne resigned from his post at the huge multinational oil and gas company in 2007 after being outed by a tabloid,” Campbell reports. “Stewart said he was surprised to learn that Browne is the first executive of a Fortune 500 or FTSE 100 company to publicly acknowledge that they are gay. The column explores why, in spite of civil rights advances, a stigma appears to exist at such high levels of business. ‘I just found it very, very fascinating,’ Stewart said. ‘Of course, there are gay CEOs in major companies, and I reached out to many them. I got an extremely cool reception — not one would allow to be named in the column.'”

“Then Hobbs jumped in,” Campbell reports. “‘I think Tim Cook is open about the fact he’s gay at the head of Apple, isn’t he,’ Hobbs asked. Following a stifling silence from the panel, and a disparaging shake of the head from Stewart, the anchor tried to recover. ‘Oh, dear, was that an error? I thought not.’ The irony of Hobbs’ ill-timed mistake was not lost on co-anchor David Faber, who said, ‘Wow, I think you just…yeah.’ Listening closely, Hobbs can be heard just under the prattle of his co-anchors trying to cover for the slip, saying, ‘I think he’s very open about it.'”

Read more and see the video in the full article here.

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Does the press have an ethical duty to out powerful gays in tech? – August 31, 2011
Gawker’s Valleywag outs Tim Cook as ‘most powerful gay man in Silicon Valley’ – January 21, 2011