On the evening of Aug. 16, Apple CEO Tim Cook sent an email to all Apple employees addressing the protests and violence in Charlottesville, Va., as well as President Donald Trump's response to the events.
In the letter, he denounced the behavior and beliefs of the white supremacist groups who organized in Charlottesville, as well as President Trump's characterization of their actions and ideals in remarks the president has given throughout the week.
"I disagree with the president and others who believe that there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazis, and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights," Cook wrote. "Equating the two runs counter to our ideals as Americans."
Prior to sending this internal memo, Cook expressed similar sentiments via Twitter in the immediate aftermath of the events.
Heartbreaking scenes in #Charlottesville. Violence and racism have no place in America.— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) August 12, 2017
We’ve seen the terror of white supremacy & racist violence before. It's a moral issue - an affront to America. We must all stand against it— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) August 14, 2017
In addition to these public stances, Cook in February spoke out against the initial travel ban executive order President Trump signed to halt U.S. immigration from Muslim-majority nations. Apple joined 96 other firms in signing an amicus brief opposing the ban. The brief stated that the order "discriminate[d] on the basis of national origin and religion" and was "inflicting substantial harm on U.S. companies."
Cook's letter to employees this week called on Apple employees to stand together as equals in the face of hate, and it announced that the corporation is committmed to donating more than $2 million to civil rights organizations.
Read the full email below.
Like so many of you, equality is at the core of my beliefs and values. The events of the past several days have been deeply troubling for me, and I’ve heard from many people at Apple who are saddened, outraged or confused.
What occurred in Charlottesville has no place in our country. Hate is a cancer, and left unchecked it destroys everything in its path. Its scars last generations. History has taught us this time and time again, both in the United States and countries around the world.
We must not witness or permit such hate and bigotry in our country, and we must be unequivocal about it. This is not about the left or the right, conservative or liberal. It is about human decency and morality. I disagree with the president and others who believe that there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazis, and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights. Equating the two runs counter to our ideals as Americans.
Regardless of your political views, we must all stand together on this one point -- that we are all equal. As a company, through our actions, our products and our voice, we will always work to ensure that everyone is treated equally and with respect.
I believe Apple has led by example, and we’re going to keep doing that. We have always welcomed people from every walk of life to our stores around the world and showed them that Apple is inclusive of everyone. We empower people to share their views and express themselves through our products.
In the wake of the tragic and repulsive events in Charlottesville, we are stepping up to help organizations who work to rid our country of hate. Apple will be making contributions of $1 million each to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. We will also match two-for-one our employees’ donations to these and several other human rights groups, between now and September 30.
In the coming days, iTunes will offer users an easy way to join us in directly supporting the work of the SPLC.
Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” So, we will continue to speak up. These have been dark days, but I remain as optimistic as ever that the future is bright. Apple can and will play an important role in bringing about positive change.