Tech investor Vinod Khosla used Twitter to push Apple CEO Tim Cook to speak out about the death of George Floyd and the subsequent protests. The Sun Microsystems co-founder accused Mr. Cook of “suck[ing] up] to U.S. President Donald Trump.
Tim Cook Should ‘Speak Up Beyond Memo to Employees’
On Monday, Mr. Khosla tweeted:
Despite Mr. Cook’s clear condemnation of the killing of Mr. Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of a white police officer, and the announcement of donations to racial justice causes, Mr. Khosla did not relent. In a follow-up tweet, he asked if the Apple CEO “would be willing to speak up beyond [a] memo to employees?”
Is The Criticism Fair?
The accusation that Mr. Cook “suck[s] up” to President Trump appears to be a reference to the regular conversations the two men have had. The U.S. President has even revealed that the Apple CEO calls him directly. It seems pretty clear that Mr. Cook does as part of his responsibilities to his company and its shareholders, particularly with tariffs on Chinese made products being such a hot topic, not personal affection or political affiliation. It is similarly obvious that the two men have widely different ideologies and political viewpoints. Indeed, in that “easy” memo to staff earlier this week Mr. Cook wrote:
We have to reexamine our own views and actions in light of a pain that is deeply felt but too often ignored, 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.
While people can, and should, demand more from high-profile and powerful figures like Mr. Cook, it is not quite right to say he has not spoken out. In the aftermath of Mr. Floyd’s killing he tweeted:
No doubt that Mr. Khosla and many others will be watching Apple and its CEO to see if these words turn into meaningful actions. And that’s no bad thing.