As bad as the recent violence in Charlottesville was, Donald Trump’s response was, arguably, worse. CEOs of tech companies, or any large company for that matter, generally tend to stay away from politics. In this case, however, Trump’s response might have been the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
Business leaders from various leading American companies, including GE and GM have withdrawn from Trump’s manufacturing councils and it has even prompted the stoically silent Apple CEO Tim Cook to come out in criticism of Trump.
In an email sent to all Apple employees, Cook addresses the events at Charlottesville stating, “Hate is a cancer, and left unchecked it destroys everything in its path. Its scars last generations.”
He expresses his belief that the issue is one of human decency and morality, and not politics. He also adds, “I disagree with the president and others who believe that there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazis, and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights. Equating the two runs counter to our ideals as Americans.”
Cook states that Apple has led by example and that it must continue to do so, that everyone is equal and must be treated as such.
To kick things off, Cook announced that Apple will donate $1 million each to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Anti-Defamation League.
Apple will also match employee contributions “on a 2-for-1 basis” until 30 September, reports Recode.
Apple users will also be able to donate to the SPLC via iTunes.
His entire email to employees is as follows:
Like so many of you, equality is at the core of my beliefs and values. The events of the past several days have been deeply troubling for me, and I’ve heard from many people at Apple who are saddened, outraged or confused.
What occurred in Charlottesville has no place in our country. Hate is a cancer, and left unchecked it destroys everything in its path. Its scars last generations. History has taught us this time and time again, both in the United States and countries around the world.
We must not witness or permit such hate and bigotry in our country, and we must be unequivocal about it. This is not about the left or the right, conservative or liberal. It is about human decency and morality. I disagree with the president and others who believe that there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazis, and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights. Equating the two runs counter to our ideals as Americans.
Regardless of your political views, we must all stand together on this one point — that we are all equal. As a company, through our actions, our products and our voice, we will always work to ensure that everyone is treated equally and with respect.
I believe Apple has led by example, and we’re going to keep doing that. We have always welcomed people from every walk of life to our stores around the world and showed them that Apple is inclusive of everyone. We empower people to share their views and express themselves through our products.
In the wake of the tragic and repulsive events in Charlottesville, we are stepping up to help organisations who work to rid our country of hate. Apple will be making contributions of $1 million each to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. We will also match two-for-one our employees’ donations to these and several other human rights groups, between now and 30 September.
In the coming days, iTunes will offer users an easy way to join us in directly supporting the work of the SPLC.
Dr Martin Luther King said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” So, we will continue to speak up. These have been dark days, but I remain as optimistic as ever that the future is bright. Apple can and will play an important role in bringing about positive change.
Apple Pay will also be dropping support for websites and platforms selling white supremacist and Nazi goods, reports Buzzfeed News.