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Tim Cook says those who spread hate have 'no place' on Apple's platforms

Apple CEO uses an award acceptance speech to warn white supremacists and violent conspiracy theorists.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook singles out white supremacists, saying hate has "no place" in the Apple world.
Stephen Lam / Getty Images

Apple CEO Tim Cook singled out white supremacists and violent conspiracy theorists on Monday, saying those who seek to spread hate have "no place" on Apple's platforms.

Cook highlighted the company's commitment to preventing hate speech from spreading across the Apple ecosystem while accepting the Anti-Defamation League's first-ever Courage Against Hate award at an event in New York City. The award recognizes individuals who champion unity, diversity and social progress.

"We only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division and violence: You have no place on our platforms," Cook said, according to a CNN account of the speech. "You have no home here."

In August, Apple removed five podcasts produced by far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' Infowars from iTunes and Apple's Podcast app.  Jones has been widely criticized for promoting untrue, virulent hypotheses about tragic events, like the 2001 terrorist attacks on World Trade Center in New York that killed nearly 3,000 people and the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that killed 26 students and staff.

Within a day of Apple's move, Facebook, YouTube, Spotify and LinkedIn had banned Jones and Infowars as well. Just over a week later, Twitter suspended Jones from its service.

"From the earliest days of iTunes to Apple Music today, we have always prohibited music with a message of white supremacy," Cook told attendees. "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."

Cook also used his speech to voice optimism about the role technology can play in building a better world for all.

"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."

Cook is no stranger to voicing his opposition to government efforts seen as discriminatory against the disadvantaged and disenfranchised. In 2017, Cook spoke up against President Donald Trump's effort to close the US to immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries, telling employees in a memo that, "It is not a policy we support."

A year earlier, Cook was among more than 90 business executives who spoke out against a North Carolina law that would force transgender students to use school toilets "inconsistent with their gender identity."

Cook, who said in 2014 he is gay, has also often spoken out against anti-LGBT legislation, and his name was featured on Alabama's anti-discrimination bill.

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