Earlier today, Apple AAPL CEO Tim Cook published an essay in Bloomberg BusinessWeek publicly acknowledging for the first time that he’s gay. In so doing, he not only confirmed something that had been long assumed, he also became the only openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Naturally, the essay brought out a number of reactions from people in the business world, the media and politics, plus more than a few activist groups. Here are some of the major responses.


Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson, via Twitter:

Former President Bill Clinton, via Twitter:

House Minority Leader and San Francisco Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi:

Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella, via Twitter:

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, via Facebook:

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Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington:

The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce:

The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the business voice of the LGBT community, commends Tim Cook for his moving and heartfelt coming out essay. While his story and success are unique, we are proud to say we hear about similar journeys every day from the LGBT Americans, including those who are part of NGLCC. Our goal is to expand economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people. Tim’s words today will help us in that mission. They also serve as an opening of the door for other LGBT CEOs and senior executives to move forward in knowing there is a safe place for them in the business world.

StartOut, a group supporting LGBT entrepreneurs, CEO Gene Falk:

While there have been substantial gains for the community in representation and visibility in politics, entertainment, journalism and now even sports, in too many places the corporate closet continues to flourish, and there are virtually no role models in the senior ranks of the business community. Today that changed. Tim’s leadership of Apple has not been, and will not be, defined by his being out. It will only be enhanced because now he’s empowered to lead without hiding.

Anthony Watson, CIO of Nike and GLAAD Board of Directors, via Twitter:

Phillip Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide at Apple, via Twitter:

Jason Collins, first openly gay active NBA player, via Twitter:

Barney Frank, the first Congressman to voluntarily come out as gay, speaking on CNBC:

“When the man who has been the leader for several years with great success of one of the most important … businesses in America, says, ‘Oh by the way, you know those people about whom you have these negative feelings, well I’m one of them.’ That does such an enormous amount to diminish the negative feelings. I am very grateful for him doing it.”

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin:

Tim Cook’s announcement today will save countless lives. He has always been a role model, but today millions across the globe will draw inspiration from a different aspect of his life. Tim Cook is proof that LGBT young people can dream as big as their minds will allow them to, whether they want to be doctors, a U.S. Senator, or even CEO of the world’s biggest brand.

Arthur D. Levinson, chairman of Apple’s Board:

Tim has our wholehearted support and admiration in making this courageous personal statement. His decision to speak out will help advance the cause of equality and inclusion far beyond the business world. On behalf of the board and our entire company, we are incredibly proud to have Tim leading Apple.

John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, via Twitter:

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres