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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...

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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.”


Procter & Gamble Comes Out In Support Of Same-Sex Marriage - VIDEO

P&G_brands

For the first time in its history, Cincinnati-based consumer products group Procter & Gamble (P&G) is openly supporting same-sex marriage, reports Cincinnati.com.

This may not be great news for right wing anti-gay zealots. Tony Perkins, the leader of listed hate group Family Research Council, last week hinted at a possible boycott of Apple after CEO Tim Cook came out.

Procter & Gamble says that it has embraced LGBT employees for more than 20 years and same-sex marriage has become an important enough issue to its workers that it is taking a public stand.

Deborah P. Majoras, P&G's chief legal officer and executive sponsor to GABLE, the company's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender-allied employee group, said:

"We have always supported our employees and fostered a culture of inclusion and respect – this includes the right to marry whomever they choose and to have that union legally recognized.”

William Gipson, P&G's chief global diversity officer, added that being LGBT-inclusive is “not a political statement, but a statement of support for our employees."

P&G’s announcement of its support for same-sex marriage comes a week after the city of Cincinnati won top score for inclusion by Human Rights Campaign (HRC). P&G also received a perfect score this year from HRC for its inclusion policies.

Terry Kelly, principal and investment adviser at Cincinnati-based investment management firm Bartlett, said that although P&G's latest stand could anger some consumers, the company has already weighed those risks.

Back in 2007, P&G supported the first kiss between two same-sex teenagers on soap As The World Turnswhich you can watch AFTER THE JUMP...

Back in August, advocacy group the Bilerico Project called on people to boycott P&G, the biggest television advertiser in Russia. P&G was also a Worldwide Olympic Partner and a sponsor of the controversial 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

Continue reading "Procter & Gamble Comes Out In Support Of Same-Sex Marriage - VIDEO" »


Elton John Lambasts Russia's Anti-Gay 'Propaganda' Ban During St. Petersburg Concert

In the middle of his St. Petersburg performance last weekend, the ever vocal Elton John took the opportunity to take potshots at Russia's anti-gay policies and agenda again reports The Moscow Times. While performing a song, John addressed the crowd asking, "Is Tchaikovsky's beautiful music 'sexually perverting?" bringing up the famous Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky who is widely believed to be gay.

Elton johnJohn also criticized the removal of a statue erected to honor Apple founder Steve Jobs from outside of a St. Petersburg technical college after Jobs successor, Tim Cook, disclosed to the public that he is gay. It's assumed that Russia still sells Apple products, which John recognized and called out the hypocrisy behind the statue's removal.

Said John:

"Can this be true? Steve's memory is rewritten because his successor at Apple, Tim Cook, is gay? Does that also make iPads 'gay propaganda'?"

This isn't the first time the singer spoke out during a concert in Russia; he dedicated a 2013 Moscow concert to 23-year-old Vladislav Tornovi who was raped and murdered after revealing he was gay. Fans and civils rights groups asked John not to perform in Russia, but John told the Moscow crowd why he continues to perform in the country.

Said John:

"You took me to your hearts all these years ago, and you've always welcomed me with warmth and open arms any time I've visited. You have always embraced me and you have never judged me. So I am deeply saddened and shocked over the current legislation that is now in place against the LGBT community here in Russia."

"In my opinion, it is inhumane and it is isolating. People have demanded that because of this legislation, I must not come here to Russia. But many, many more people asked me to come and I listened to them. I love coming here."

John invited Vladimir Putin to meet the country's LGBT youth to listen to their experiences, however the disillusioned leader has yet to respond to the singer's request. St. Petersburg is the epicenter of the nationwide ban on "gay propaganda," as it was the first city to pass an ordinance banning the so-called "propaganda." The nationwide federal legislation version is modeled after St. Petersburg's ordinance.


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