Apple CEO Cook joins other business leaders in slamming Trump for ambivalence on racist rally

Apple's chief executive Tim Cook has reportedly become the latest boss to criticise President Donald Trump over his response to the white nationalist rallies in Virginia.
In a note to Apple employees, chief executive officer Tim Cook said he disagrees with those who believe there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights.
In a note to Apple employees, chief executive officer Tim Cook said he disagrees with those who believe there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights.PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Apple Inc chief executive officer Tim Cook has joined a chorus of business leaders who have voiced their opposition to President Donald Trump after he blamed white nationalists and anti-racism activists equally for violence in Virginia over the weekend.

"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," Mr Cook wrote in a note late on Wednesday (Aug 16) to employees, according to technology news website Recode.

Mr Cook also said in the letter that Apple will donate US$1 million (S$1.37 million) a piece to the Southern Poverty Law Centre and the Anti-Defamation League, and will match two-for-one their donations to the organisations and other human rights groups until Sept 30.

"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," Mr Cook wrote.

Mr Cook's letter came hours after Mr Trump disbanded two high-profile business advisory councils as several chief executives quit in protest over his remarks blaming weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, on anti-racism activists as well as white nationalists that left a 32-year-old woman dead.

"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," Mr Cook said. "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," Mr Cook added.

 

Earlier on Wednesday, the company was disabling Apple Pay on several websites that sell attire and items in support of white nationalists and hate groups, several tech news websites reported.

Apple joined social media networks Twitter Inc and LinkedIn, music service Spotify  and security firm Cloudflare Inc that were cutting off services to hate groups or removing material that they said spread hate.