Apple‘s Tim Cook said Anderson Cooper had an important influence on his decision to come out as gay, which he did in 2014, making him the first CEO of a Fortune 500 company to do so.
Cook spoke with the Washington Post in a wide ranging interview on Saturday, and answered questions about his coming out process. Cook says it took about a year.
“Just thinking through what to say, how to say it, where to say it, how to do that in a way that advanced what I was trying to do,” Cook said.
“I wanted it to be in a business [publication]. That’s what I know, that’s who I am,” Cook continued. “There was a lot of work there. I visited people. I talked to Anderson Cooper at length — multiple times. Because I thought that the way that he handled his announcement was really classy. I was getting advice from people who I thought were really great people who had really deeply thought about it.”
Cooper came out in 2012 in an email exchange with his friend, gay libertarian blogger Andrew Sullivan. Cooper explained that he wanted to maintain some privacy for personal and professional reasons, such as to keep himself and those he works with safe while reporting from dangerous places.
“I have found that sometimes the less an interview subject knows about me, the better I can safely and effectively do my job as a journalist,” he added.
But his concerns for what message he might be unintentionally sending prompted his coming out.
“Recently, however, I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle. It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something—something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true,” he wrote.