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Apple Fires Anti-Gay Alabama Lobbyist

Tech giant Apple has terminated its contract with a former Republican state representative from Alabama, Jay Love, who has a long history of anti-gay views yet who had also recently been hired as a lobbyist for the company. The Washington Blade reports that when questioned about what role Love plays on behalf of Apple, the company commented that Love no longer works for them:

LoveKristin Huguet, an Apple spokesperson, said Monday her company doesn’t employ Love when asked if Apple was OK with his views and why he was hired in the first place. “Jay Love does not work for Apple nor does he do any lobbying on our behalf,” Huguet said. 

But if Apple has terminated its contract with Love, the process hasn’t formally been certified by the Alabama Ethics Commission. Vicky Manning, a lobbyist for the Alabama Ethics Commission, said she’s received no notification yet from Apple that Love’s contract was terminated. “As of yet, I do not have the termination statement in our office,” Manning said. “They have 10 days in which to submit any changes in their registration.” Over the course of his 10-year career as a Republican representing part of Montgomery in the state legislature, Love opposed same-sex marriage.

In the past, Love came out in strong opposition to the 2008 California Supreme Court decision that overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage (only to be nullified of course by the passage of Proposition 8) and praising former Miss California Carrie Prejean who in 2009 voiced her support for "traditional" marriage. Love even introduced legislation commending Prejean. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook hails from Alabama and in October of last year criticized his home state for moving too slowly on LGBT equality:

"As a state, we took too long to take steps toward equality," Cook, one of this year's inductees into the Academy, said to a crowd gathered in the Old House Chamber at the Alabama State Capitol. "We were too slow on equality on African-Americans. We were too slow on interracial marriage. And we are still too slow on equality for the LBGT community."

The Washington Blade notes that Love declined to comment for their article.


Tim Cook to Obama: Cyberprivacy is 'Life and Death' Issue for Gay People, Others — VIDEO

Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke to President Obama on Friday at a White House cybersecurity summit at Stanford University, emphasizing the importance of cybersecurity and touting Apple's efforts at protecting its users.

Said Cook:

"People have entrusted us with their most personal and precious information. We owe them nothing less than the best protections that we can possibly provide...We believe in human rights and human dignity, which is why we put so much thought into how our products are manufactured, not only how they are designed, and we believe deeply that everyone has a right to privacy and security."

He added:

"History has shown us that sacrificing our right to privacy can have dire consequences. We still live in a world where all people are not treated equally. Too many people do not feel free to practice their religion or express their opinion or love who they choose. Or love who they choose. A world in which that information can make the difference between life and death. If those of us in positions of responsibility fail to do everything in our power to protect the right of privacy, we risk something far more valuable than money – we risk our way of life."

Watch a clip and the full speech, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Tim Cook to Obama: Cyberprivacy is 'Life and Death' Issue for Gay People, Others — VIDEO" »


Apple CEO Tim Cook Makes 'Substantial' Contribution To HRC Campaign Targeting His Home State Of Alabama

Six weeks after coming out publicly, Apple CEO Tim Cook has made a "substantial" contribution to a campaign aimed at bringing LGBT equality to his home state of Alabama. 

Cook.TimThe Human Rights Campaign announced Cook's contribution Thursday to its Project One America, an $8.5 million, three-year effort targeting Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi. Cook grew up in South Alabama and attended Auburn University. 

The Associated Press reports: 

The amount of Cook's contribution to the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign wasn't disclosed, but the advocacy organization called it "substantial." ... 

The campaign includes advertising on TV and elsewhere, direct-mail fliers and staff members hired in each state.

"We hope Tim Cook's substantial personal investment inspires others to support this vital and historic project," Jason Rahlan, a spokesman for Human Rights Campaign, said in an email.

President Chad Griffin wrote on HRC's blog

When Tim first learned about HRC's Project One America – our bold, comprehensive campaign to dramatically advance equality for LGBT Americans in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi – he said, “I'm in.” Thanks to his generous personal financial investment in the program, together we will move the needle forward at the local and state level, tearing down misperceptions and providing concrete protections for those who need it most.

Shortly before coming out, Cook delivered a speech in Montgomery in which he said Alabama was moving "too slow on equality for the LGBT community." The state's only openly gay lawmaker recently announced she plans to name a nondiscrimination bill after Cook in the upcoming legislative session. 

Cook, who heads the world's largest corporation, is the only openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company. 

RedIn related news, Cook announced in an email to employees that Apple's Product (RED) holiday campaign raised over $20 million for AIDS research, Business Insider reports: 

"I’m thrilled to announce that our total donation for this quarter will be more than $20 million — our biggest ever — bringing the total amount Apple has raised for (PRODUCT) RED to over $100 million. The money we’ve raised is saving lives and bringing hope to people in need. It’s a cause we can all be proud to support," Cook wrote. 

Watch a video for HRC's Project America campaign in Alabama, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Apple CEO Tim Cook Makes 'Substantial' Contribution To HRC Campaign Targeting His Home State Of Alabama" »


Alabama LGBT Non-Discrimination Bill to Be Named After Apple CEO Tim Cook

Alabama state Rep. Patricia Todd has announced her anti-discrimination bill protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination will be named after newly out Apple CEO Tim Cook, a native of the state.

Todd, the state's only openly gay lawmaker, said she had originally received a word of concern from Apple about Cook's name being attached to the measure but that the company later told her Cook would be pleased to have his name on the proposal, Reuters reports:

CookIn a statement provided to Reuters, Apple said: "Tim was honored to hear that State Rep. Todd wanted to name an anti-discrimination bill after him, and we're sorry if there was any miscommunication about it. We have a long history of support for LGBT rights and we hope every state will embrace workplace equality for all."

Todd said she hoped Cook could come to the legislature and speak on the bill's behalf, particularly its value in attracting business and talent to the state.

"We have extended the invitation to him, but he is a busy man and of course Apple comes first," she said. "I hope he can fit it into his schedule."

Todd plans on introducing the bill in the Alabama legislative session beginning in March. 

Prior to his coming out, Cook, in a speech before Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and other state officials, criticized the state for lagging behind on LGBT rights. 


Russian Steve Jobs Memorial Taken Down After Tim Cook Came Out Will Now Be Auctioned Off

Statue

In 2013 the Western European Financial Union ZEFS erected a 6’6’’ iPhone-shaped memorial to Steve Jobs in St. Petersberg. The memorial stood for about a year in the courtyard of a local IT university campus before being taken down after Apple’s CEO Tim Cook came out as being gay. The Moscow Times is now reporting that ZEFS has chosen to auction off the interactive statue after a forum of the Union’s members overwhelmingly voted against reinstalling it. Bidding for the statue begins at 5 million rubles, or about $94,000.

The memorial was originally taken down the day after Tim Cook’s announcement and ZEFS chairman Maxim Dolgopolov was frank in his reasoning behind removing the interactive statue. In addition to concerns of American spying raised by Edward Snowden’s revelations, ZEFS found Apple’s support of its CEO, and its explicit support of gay rights, in clear violation of Russia’s homophobic “LGBT-propaganda” laws.

"After Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly called for sodomy, the monument was taken down to abide to the Russian federal law protecting children from information promoting denial of traditional family values," ZEFS said in a statement to Reuters.

In other news, the iPhone is selling quite well in Russia.


Apple Goes (RED) In Support of World AIDS Day

Screenshot 2014-12-01 10.16.07

Apple has begun to illuminate its iconic logo in red to highlight its participation in Product (RED) in time for World AIDS Day. The Cupertino-based company began its show of support in its Sydney flagship store yesterday, with stores across the world in Japan, China, Hong Kong, Europe, and the U.S. soon to follow suit. Founded by Bono and Shriver in 2006, (RED) is a licensed brand meant to raise awareness and financial support for HIV/AIDS awareness prevention program in Africa. Proceeds from the sale of Product (RED) branded goods contribute to the The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, which finances independent programs targeting those diseases.

The official number that Apple reports to have raised for Product (RED) is around $75 million dollars, but earlier this year Bono lashed out against Apple for being notoriously coy about its sales figures. Though Apple has participated in Product (RED) since 2006, this marks the second year that the computing giant has rolled out a fully-fledged campaign coordinated with the initiative.

Cook"This year, we are launching our biggest fundraising push yet with the participation of Apple’s retail and online stores,” recently out Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. “Some of the brightest minds in the App Store are lending their talents to the effort, as well.”

In addition to special editions of iPods, iPads, and accessories, Apple is rolling out Product (RED) applications that, while non-physical, will contribute to the campaign in the same way.

“For eight years, our customers have been helping fight AIDS in Africa by funding life-saving treatments, which are having a profoundly positive impact, "Cook said. “Apple is a proud supporter of (RED) because we believe the gift of life is the most important gift anyone can give.”


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