Apple CEO Tim cook says cell phone cameras have made it harder to ignore racial issues.


Apple CEO Tim Cook says he’s “humbled” by the role his company’s iPhone has been able to play in spurring societal changes, such as those occurring as a result of cell phone video showing the moments leading up to the death of George Floyd.

“We are humbled by it, we are humbled by it,” Cook told CBS’s 60 Minutes correspondent John Dickerson. “If you look back in time, some of the most dramatic societal changes have occurred because someone captured video. This is true about things that happened in Birmingham; it was true about things that happened in Selma.” (CBS is owned by CNET parent company ViacomCBS

Floyd, an unarmed Black man, died during an arrest as a police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes despite his cries that he couldn’t breathe. Video footage of the event posted to social media sparked protests in more than 140 cities across the country.

Earlier this month Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the company would launch a Racial Equity and Justice Initiative with a $100 million commitment. Cook has also called for his company to do more to create change in an open letter on racism.

“I think fundamentally, this one will change the world,” Cook said, noting that video captured by cell phones is helping spur that change.

“The thing that has changed, though, and we’re very proud of this, is that we put a camera in everybody’s pocket,” Cook said. “And so, it becomes much tougher as a society, I believe, to convince themselves that it didn’t happen, or that it happened in a different manner or whatever it might be.”

Cook is no stranger to voicing his views on societal issues. In 2019, he criticized the “insanity” of legislative inactivity regarding gun violence in the US, and in 2018 he 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.”

“You know, there was a time back many years ago where CEOs were just supposed to focus on profits only, and not so much the constituencies. And that’s never been my view. I’ve never subscribed to that,” Cook said.

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