US: News anchor outs Apple CEO during live discussion

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A CNBC news anchor outed Apple CEO Tim Cook during a live panel discussion, despite him never publicly addressing his sexuality.

During the discussion, New York Times columnist James R. Stewart was reacting to former BP boss Lord Browne’s call for gay CEOs to come out, referencing a finding that there are no openly gay CEOs in the top 1000 biggest companies.

Stewart said: “After all the advances in gay civil rights, you’d think CEOs especially are measured by objective criteria, which is financial performance.

“Of course, there are gay CEOs in major companies, and I reached out to many of them. I got an extremely cool reception, not one would allow to be named at all.”

Co-anchor Simon Hobbs interjected: “I think Tim Cook is fairly open about the fact he’s gay at the head of Apple, isn’t he?”

The entire panel were stunned into silence, before Stewart replied: “Um, no.”

Hobbs said: “Oh dear, was that an error? I thought not.”

Stewart replied: “I don’t want to comment about anybody who might or might not be – I’m not going to out anybody. I called a lot of people, and no-one at any major company would allow their names to be used.”

Cook topped Out Magazine’s power list three years in a row between 2011 and 2013, despite not having come out publicly.

He came second on this year’s list, edged out by TV host Ellen DeGeneres.

Watch the clip below: