Apple CEO Tim Cook is being recognized for his advocacy for public causes, including speaking out on behalf of people who are lesbian, bisexual, gay, or transexual.
The Newseum Institute, a leading nonprofit supporting journalism, said it would give Cook, the first openly gay CEO in the Fortune 500, its annual free speech award at a dinner on April 18 in Washington, D.C. Cook will be recognized for taking a public stand on issues including LGBT rights, the environment, and standing up against racism.
In 2013, Cook spoke at the United Nations in favor of gay rights. “Now is the time to write these basic principles of human dignity into the book of law,” Cook said. A year later, he acknowledged he himself was gay in an essay published by Bloomberg Businessweek. “I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others,” Cook wrote.
In 2015, Cook led some 8,000 Apple employees marching in San Francisco’s annual gay pride parade, a week after the Supreme Court had issues its historic ruling legalizing gay marriage.
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Cook’s political advocacy did not extend to favoring one party over another, however. The Apple (AAPL) CEO was the co-host of fundraisers for both Democratic and Republican candidates last year.
The Newseum first said it would give the award to Cook in February.
Cook “used his spotlight to take a public stand on major societal issues, including racial equality, privacy, protecting the environment, access to education and LGBT rights,” the group said at the time.