Apple CEO Tim Cook, who is openly gay and supported Hillary Clinton in 2016, defended the banning of certain speech and news media on Apple platforms when they violate the "values" of the company. He added that to not ban what is "wrong" is irresponsible and "a sin."
However, as with Facebook, Apple leader Cook did not define what he termed "those who seek to push hate, division, and violence," leaving the door open for a wide swath of future censorship and banning of ideas and voices that Cook doesn't like.
Cook made his remarks in New York City on Dec. 3 at an event sponsored by the liberal Anti-Defamation League, which presented Cook with the "Courage Against Hate" award.
When it comes to working in the technological arena, “perhaps most importantly it drives us not to be bystanders as hate tries to make its headquarters in the digital world," said Cook.
"At Apple, we believe that technology needs to have a clear point of view on this challenge," he said. "There is no time to get tied up in knots. That’s why we only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division, and violence: You have no place on our platforms."
"You have no home here," he said. "From the earliest days of iTunes to Apple Music today, we have always prohibited music with a message of white supremacy. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do."
Cook did not mention that Apple Music sells myriad hip hop and rap "music" that promotes gun violence, violence against women, endless use of the N-word, gangs, sexism, narcotics trafficking, and drug use.
Cook continued, "And as we showed this year, we won’t give a platform to violent conspiracy theorists on the app store. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. My friends, if we can’t be clear on moral questions like these, then we’ve got big problems."
Apple, along with Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Twitter banned Infowars and commentator Alex Jones from their platforms this year.
“At Apple we are not afraid to say that our values drive our curation decisions," said Cook. "And why should we be?”
“I believe the most sacred thing that each of us is given is our judgment, our morality, our own innate desire to separate right from wrong," he said. "Choosing to set that responsibility aside at a moment of trial is a sin.”
In other words, to not ban what violates Apple's "values" is irresponsible and "a sin."
The problem though is that Apple's "values" and morality seem to be irrational and entirely subjective, which is perhaps why Cook didn't define those "values" during his speech at the ADL event.
Apple is against white supremacy, which makes sense, but it is totally for hosting and selling products that relentlessly use the N-word. Isn't allowing your company to promote and sell people who relentlessly use the N-word a sin too?
What about all the music and videos available through iTunes that treat women as pieces of meat? Is selling products that treat women as nothing more than walking T&A not a sin too?
And what about Christians, conservative Jews, and Muslims who believe homosexual behavior is a sin? Is that a hateful belief? Will ideas and products that promote that belief be available on Apple platforms in the future?
It's not clear. But as Tim Cook said, "we only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division, and violence: You have no place on our platforms."