The PR implications of Tim Cook’s coming out

The Apple CEO said Thursday morning that he is gay, and the decision to make such a statement is deeper than a strategic public relations move. 

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Tim Cook made both history and conversation Thursday morning when he became the first openly gay Fortune 500 chief executive.

In an open letter published by Bloomberg Businessweek, Cook spoke out:

While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.

Support for Cook’s statement—including posts by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google executive Sundar Pichai—has been widespread, but many wonder why Cook chose to say anything at all about his sexual orientation, and why now.

One possible reason for a statement such as Cook’s is the PR benefit from executives’ taking a stance on hot-topic issues.

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