A billionaire tech investor is calling out Apple CEO Tim Cook for not speaking up publicly about the company's values amid protests over George Floyd's death
- Tech billionaire Vinod Khosla is urging Apple CEO Tim Cook to speak publicly about the company's values in light of the ongoing George Floyd protests.
- Cook sent an internal memo to staff, which Bloomberg published in full.
- But Khosla is urging the Apple CEO to speak out despite his relationship with President Trump.
- Cook's memo discussed the issues of racial discrimination and inequality in the US, and outlined Apple's donation efforts and available support for employees.
- Khosla says Cook should be willing to support his values with "actions that might cost them something."
Billionaire tech investor Vinod Khosla is urging Apple CEO Tim Cook to speak publicly about the company's values amid ongoing protests over the death of George Floyd.
"It's easy to support equality & justice for all decent folks," Khosla tweeted on June 1, as Recode first reported. "It's when one has to give up something to support it that belief in our real values show up. @tim_cook easy to talk but why do you suck up to @realDonaldTrump? Memo's to employees is easy. Please retweet."
—Vinod Khosla (@vkhosla) June 1, 2020
Apple CEO Tim Cook recently sent a memo to staff discussing racial discrimination and inequality in the US. The memo, which Bloomberg obtained and Business Insider has confirmed is legitimate, also outlines Apple's ongoing initiatives to contribute to the cause, such as by providing donations to groups like the Equal Justice Initiative.
"To create change, we have to reexamine our own views and actions in light of a pain that is deeply felt but too often ignored," Cook wrote in the memo. "Issues of human dignity will not abide standing on the sidelines."
In addition to sending a memo to employees, Apple Music is participating the Blackout Tuesday movement, in which regular programming has been temporarily paused to promote solidarity with the black community.
But Khosla is pushing the company to be more vocal about its values.
"I think words on values are easy," Khosla said to Recode. "If Tim Cook professes values he should be willing to support them with actions that might cost them something. That was my first thought on hearing about the employee memo, knowing Tim Cook cozied up to Trump to get tariff relief. I'd love for him to comment on Trump's racist rants."
Khosla is the founder of Khosla Ventures, a firm with a focus on supporting technology and energy companies. He also co-founded Sun Microsystems in 1982 and served as its founding CEO. More recently, his name has appeared in headlines over his ongoing efforts to keep private a beach near his $37 million estate near Half Moon Bay in California.
Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for a response to Khosla's comments.
Cook is known to have met with President Trump several times over the course of 2019 and earlier. In one of his most public appearances with Trump, the president toured Apple's factory in Austin, Texas alongside Cook. The Apple CEO also spoke with Trump last August about the impact that US tariffs on Chinese imports would have on the iPhone maker, possibly giving its biggest rival Samsung an advantage.
That's not to say that every mention Trump has made of Apple has been a positive one. The president criticized Apple in a tweet posted in January for refusing to unlock iPhones used by a gunman in Pensacola, Florida in a fatal December shooting. The FBI was able to gain access to the iPhones anyhow, and Apple has denied allegations that it refused to assist with the investigation.
Cook isn't the only high-profile tech CEO to send an internal memo addressing protests that have erupted in response to George Floyd's death. Google CEO Sundar Pichai also sent out a memo to staff saying that it will match employee contributions up to $10,000. Pichai also tweeted that the company was adding a black ribbon to the Google homepage to show solidarity with the black community. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel also circulated a memo to staff calling for change in the US.
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