“We only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division and violence: You have no place on our platforms,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said Monday, emphasizing, “You have no home here.”
Cook delivered this message while accepting the Anti-Defamation League’s first-ever “Courage Against Hate” award at an event in New York City. He was recognized for his role in championing unity, diversity and social progress.
“If we can’t be clear on moral questions like these, then we’ve got big problems,” Cook told attendees.
in August, Apple pulled five podcasts from far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ from iTunes and its Podcast app. The decision had a powerful domino effect on the tech industry: Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify banned some of his content, too, and Twitter eventually followed suit as well.
Cook continued: “From the earliest days of iTunes to Apple Music today, we have always prohibited music with a message of white supremacy. Why? Because it is the right thing to do. As we showed this year, we won’t give a platform to violent conspiracy theorists on the App Store.”
But Cook said he’s optimistic about the future of the tech industry.
“We believe the future should belong to those who use technology to build a better, more inclusive, and more hopeful world,” he said. “I believe the most sacred thing that each of us is given is our judgment, our morality, our own innate desire to separate right from wrong. Choosing to set that responsibility aside in a moment of trial is a sin.”
Quoting the late writer, teacher and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, Cook shared a lesson, first in Hebrew: “Lo ta’amod al dam re’echa,” which means “do not be indifferent to the bloodshed inflicted on your fellow man.”
“Do not be indifferent,” Cook stressed, saying that Wiesel’s teaching is a mandate that drives him, and Apple, to take stances on important issues.
Cook, who has at times used his position as leader of one of the world’s most valuable companies to comment on current political issues, said it applies to speaking up for immigrants and the LGBTQ community.
Cook has been a fierce supporter of DACA, the Obama-era program that allowed people brought to the US illegally as children to stay in the country with a form of legal status, at least temporarily.
“I think it’s the biggest issue of our time currently, among all these big issues,” he said in 2017.
At the event on Monday, ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt highlighted several ways in which Cook has stood out, such as banning Jones and speaking out about the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in 2017.
“Tim spoke out forcefully and without hesitation, he stated clearly and publicly that no one should equivocate about neo-Nazis,” Greenblatt said.
Cook had sent all Apple employees an email after the rally, during which a woman named Heather Heyer was killed when a man drove his car into a crowd of counter protesters.
“What occurred in Charlottesville has no place in our country,” he said in the email. “Hate is a cancer, and left unchecked it destroys everything in its path.”
At the ADL summit, Cook said, “I worry less about computers that think like people and more about people that think like computers—without values or compassion, without concern for consequences.”