In memo to staff, Apple CEO Cook addresses George Floyd’s death, subsequent protests and riots

Amid widespread protests and riots in numerous U.S. cities following the death last week of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a memo to employees, as reported by Bloomberg News.


On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, an African-American man, died in Powderhorn, a neighborhood south of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. While Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on a city street during an arrest, Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, kept his knee on the right side of Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds; 2 minutes and 53 seconds of which occurred after Floyd became unresponsive, according to the criminal complaint filed against Chauvin. Officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas K. Lane participated in Floyd’s arrest, with Kueng holding Floyd’s back, Lane holding his legs, and Thao looking on as he stood nearby.

Preliminary results from the official autopsy found no indication that Floyd died of strangulation or traumatic asphyxia, but that the combined effects of being restrained, underlying health conditions, including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease, and potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.

U.S. President Donald Trump addressed the issues on Saturday during a speech at the Kennedy Space Center:

After reopening any U.S. stores after the prolonged COVID-19 shutdown, Apple has seen a number of stores affected by vandalism and rioting. Hence, the company has had to again close some of its U.S. stores.

Cook’s memo to staff, verbatim:


In memo to staff, Apple CEO Cook addresses George Floyd's death and arising protests and riots
Apple CEO Tim Cook
Right now, there is a pain deeply etched in the soul of our nation and in the hearts of millions. To stand together, we must stand up for one another, and recognize the fear, hurt, and outrage rightly provoked by the senseless killing of George Floyd and a much longer history of racism.

That painful past is still present today — not only in the form of violence, but in the everyday experience of deeply rooted discrimination. We see it in our criminal justice system, in the disproportionate toll of disease on Black and Brown communities, in the inequalities in neighborhood services and the educations our children receive. While our laws have changed, the reality is that their protections are still not universally applied.

We’ve seen progress since the America I grew up in, but it is similarly true that communities of color continue to endure discrimination and trauma.

I have heard from so many of you that you feel afraid — afraid in your communities, afraid in your daily lives, and, most cruelly of all, afraid in your own skin. We can have no society worth celebrating unless we can guarantee freedom from fear for every person who gives this country their love, labor and life.

At Apple, our mission has and always will be to create technology that empowers people to change the world for the better. We’ve always drawn strength from our diversity, welcomed people from every walk of life to our stores around the world, and strived to build an Apple that is inclusive of everyone.

But together, we must do more. Today, Apple is making donations to a number of groups, including the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit committed to challenging racial injustice, ending mass incarceration, and protecting the human rights of the most vulnerable people in American society. For the month of June, and in honor of the Juneteenth holiday, we’ll also be matching two-for-one all employee donations via Benevity.

To create change, we have to reexamine our own views and actions in light of a pain that is deeply felt but too often ignored. Issues of human dignity will not abide standing on the sidelines. To our colleagues in the Black community — we see you. You matter, your lives matter, and you are valued here at Apple.

For all of our colleagues hurting right now, please know that you are not alone, and that we have resources to support you. It’s more important than ever to talk to one another, and to find healing in our common humanity. We also have free resources that can help, including our Employee Assistance Program and mental health resources you can learn about on the People site.

This is a moment when many people may want nothing more than a return to normalcy, or to a status quo that is only comfortable if we avert our gaze from injustice. As difficult as it may be to admit, that desire is itself a sign of privilege. George Floyd’s death is shocking and tragic proof that we must aim far higher than a “normal” future, and build one that lives up to the highest ideals of equality and justice.

In the words of Martin Luther King, “Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.”

With every breath we take, we must commit to being that change, and to creating a better, more just world for everyone.


MacDailyNews Take: Three quotes from Martin Luther King Jr.:

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.

The limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat. It involves an emotional catharsis, but it must be followed by a sense of futility.

That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.


Thoughtful commentary on this issue is welcomed below. Please keep the discussion civil and on-topic. Off-topic posts and ad hominem attacks will be deleted and those who post such comments will be moderated/blocked. Permanent loss of screen name could also result.


    1. “A thoughtful and timely letter.”

      Timely yes, thoughtful only if you are a selective partisan ignoring the flip side of the coin.

      Cook: “That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.”

      Tim, are you talking about the police doing the right thing or Antifa protestors — or both?…

  1. Thank you Tim, I have been an Apple fan since I got my first Mac (MAC II) as another has said, it’s not just the great technology but soul of the company that makes me love it. I did have one pc , had to for university erck, got rid of it the day I handed in my thesis 🤓

  2. Time for the world to demand a black CEO for Apple so we can judge him, her or them by the content of their character in addition to the color of their skin.

    1. The only Apple CEO since Steve Jobs. 🤣

      Mixed bag CEO Cook: Superlative as a beancounter and horrible at vision and innovation — the sooner he is replaced, the better for Apple and its customers…

  3. MAGA says “Make America Great Again.” These are people that love our country… MAGA is “Make America Great Again.” By the way, they love African American people. They love black people. MAGA loves black people.

    I heard that MAGA wanted to be there; a lot of MAGA was going to be there. I have no idea if that’s true or not. But they love our country. Remember that: MAGA is just an expression, but MAGA loves our country…

    When I saw a policeman, run by a mayor who I think is probably a very good person — but he’s a radical-left mayor — when I saw the policeman running out of a police station, for that police station to be abandoned and taken over, I’ve never seen anything so horrible and stupid in my life. I’ve never seen anything so bad. And then I see them trying to justify it.

    Look, they’ve got to be tough, they’ve got to be smart. We have our military ready, willing, and able if they ever want to call our military. But we can have troops to the ground very quickly if they ever want our military.

    They’re using their National Guard right now — the, as you know — I guess, as you probably know, they have their National Guard out. We can have our military there very quickly. They’ve got to be tough. They’ve got to be strong. They’ve got to be respected, because these people, the Antifa — there’s a lot of radical-left, bad people. And they’ve got to be taught that you can’t do this.

    President Donald Trump, May 30, 2020

    Love and support the peaceful protestors. Punish harshly and to the fullest extent of the law those who hijack a righteous movement for their own twisted ends.

    1. Trump “never seen anything so horrible and stupid in my life. I’ve never seen anything so bad.”

      So, in Trump’s eyes, the police letting a building be damaged/destroyed is worse than anything else he’s ever seen.

      Think about the news you’ve seen during your life. Was any of it worse than that?

        1. “In the immediate context, it suggests he found officers avoiding a confrontation more “horrible and stupid” than an officer killing someone.”

          In the immediate context, TxUser is partisan clueless and did not find officers avoiding a confrontation, praying and marching with protesters while enforcing the rule of law, protecting minority businesses while Antifa activists attempted to “killing someone” and destroy inner city neighborhoods and livelihoods.

          There, I fixed it for you… 🇺🇸🦅

          1. How does that song about deflection go?

            Like the Great One, you are changing the subject. He said that the Minneapolis PD abandoning Precinct 3 was the most “horrible and stupid thing” he had seen in his life. Only a week before, he had seen a Minneapolis PD officer kill someone. That suggests that he regards non-lethal violence against police as more horrible than lethal violence by police against African-Americans. That confirms the central thesis of the demonstrators, that for this Administration black lives don’t matter as much as white lives… or even white property.

            You couldn’t find a plausible excuse for that, so you tried to change the subject to white officers who did the right thing. Wonderful folks, I agree, but none of them was named Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America (or at least its while native-born citizens).

            Now I’ve fixed it for you.

      1. Krioni: if you haven’t noticed by now, Trump’s lips often flap earlier that his ultimate intention. It’s clearly a weakness. Per your “point,” I guess you haven’t noticed this trait and your truly believe he believes what is amazing you, or you’re pretending and an “agenda” is leading you?

    2. Ever think that a lot of this racial problem has been exacerbated by Trump? Most do so many of us do not care what Trump thinks.
      Looting and shooting….he should be ashamed. All Trump voters should be ashamed.

      1. “Ever think that a lot of this racial problem has been exacerbated by Trump?”

        And not by President Obama who fixed NOTHING and divided us further?

        What you fail to recognize in your hatred for President Trump, mind you Buster, is the overwhelming riots are taking place in Blue cities/states run by Democrats for decades.

        The Democrat politicians running these cities and trillions of dollars spent for over 50 years, and the problems STILL exist.

        Gee, what a surprise…

      2. Systemic Racism in the Police and in our Schools in all of our major cities is not the fault of President Trump. This has been gong on for decades.

        I believe in Systemic Racism. I have seen it practiced by one party cities and politicians in all of our major cities for decades. They support the Police and Teachers unions. The Teachers and Police unions in return support them with votes and political donations and then in turn negotiate deals that make it impossible to remove bad cops or bad teachers.

        The result, Bad cops are protected from prosecution from this system and bad teachers can never be fired leading to poor public education and bad policing.

        If you don’t believe me, read what the Mayor of Minneapolis said today.

        The ironic thing is that in reality, the Protests and Riots are really against the people and political affiliations they state they support.

    3. “ Love and support the peaceful protestors. Punish harshly and to the fullest extent of the law those who hijack a righteous movement for their own twisted ends.”

      I believe Trump asked his crowd to beat up peaceful protesters at one of his rallies and he would pay the legal fees. Of course we know that’s bullshit. Trump doesn’t pay for anything.

      Then of course, where is his “there’s good people on both sides” speech this time?

      1. “I believe Trump asked his crowd to beat up peaceful protesters at one of his rallies”

        Sarcasm eludes one of the most sarcastic among us.🤔

        I believe President Obama said if they hit us we hit back harder.

        He was not being sarcastic…

        1. We do differ on things. Often greatly. But do we really expect the subtlety of sarcasm to be properly interpreted at a MAGA rally? I see it as in character self serving recklessness.

  4. Predatory Wall St banks like Goldman Sachs, acquisitive hedge funders like Bridgewater Associates, big box stores like the undercutters WallMart and big internet stores like Amazon and AliExpress continue to loot small merchants, small towns, and individual savings accounts on Main St. in stark comparison, the guy taking a TV is only a nearly insignificant symptom.

  5. Justifying any illegality is kuku, John. Taking a TV is warranted, as your scenario describes, for only those that support, look for and are focused on the division of classes. The taking of the TV does nothing to elevate the person now with a new TV, nor does it in ANY way shift the unfairness your perceive.

    It’s nothing but the thinking of Marx and that hasn’t lifted anyone in all of it’s history. Let go of dead ideas. Either that, or please reply with definitive and convincing evidence that you are onto a “new stain” of the war-of-classes ideology.

    1. I just communicated with a globalist corporation. It revealed to me in prurient glee that it deplores Marxist Socialism for the dispossessed because they are not Capitalist enough. Only the Capitalist corporation deserves Socialist help because investors like the occasional entitlement to tidy them over during tough times when its business model fails.

      1. I believe you need to iron out some of the details in your “new” ideology, John.
        At this point it’s a mess and it’s not going to be adopted anywhere, imo.

        But, you’re in a way, very clever, but you know the (our) current model, that is as Socialist as we’ve ever been, isn’t working at all…so, how/why in the World should it be implemented directly?

        Go State-ism!

    1. First they came for white owned stores, and I said nothing
      Then they came for black owned stores, and I said nothing
      Then they came for Apple stores, and I said nothing
      Then they came for you, and I said nothing
      Then they came for me, and no-one said anything.

  6. Dear Tim,

    Thanks for standing by those seeking justice.

    Just wondering how you’re going with those apps the Hong Kong protesters were using but you banned?

    Yours sincerely,

    Those seeking justice elsewhere.

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