“Siri, what should I ask Tim Cook?” Colbert asked the wise-cracking virtual assistant as he wrapped up his 10-minute Late Night With Stephen Colbert interview with the Apple chief. Siri cooly responded: “Do me a favor. Ask him when I’m going to get a raise.” To which the bespeckled exec erupted into laughter. (Colbert also threatened to stab Cook in the neck with a fondue fork during the show, but that’s neither here nor there.)
Last night’s Cook-Colbert tête-à-tête wasn’t all quips and giggles. Once the inevitable iPhone 6S show-and-tell was over, after Cook refused to spill the beans about Apple’s driverless car and admitted that he “hates” opportunistic Steve Jobs biopics, the conversation got heavy.
Colbert went there. He popped a question about Cook’s sexuality. “You yourself came out as gay recently,” he said. “Was that an upgrade or just a feature that had not been turned on?” After a long, loud laugh, Cook shared what moved him to finally publicly say “I’m proud to be gay.”
Just as he did in his famous Bloomberg Business essay last October, Cook told the story of how he was inspired by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whom he has a photo of in his office. He said he reflects every day on this powerful quote from the civil rights pioneer: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
After challenging himself with that powerful question often, Cook felt he had “a tremendous responsibility” to come out. “It became clear to me,” he told Colbert. “Kids were getting bullied in schools. Kids were basically getting discriminated against. Kids were even being disclaimed by their own parents...that I needed to do something. Where I valued my privacy significantly, I felt that I was valuing it too far above what I could do with other people, so I wanted to tell everyone my truth.”
And, for those who didn’t already know he’s gay, Cook, never one to miss a prime promotional opportunity, said learning his truth was like bumping into something new on your iPhone. “It’s like discovering something in your iPhone,” he said, gesturing toward a shiny, new rose gold iPhone 6S on Colbert’s desk. “It’s always done, but you didn’t quite know it.”
Yes, all things must point back to iPhone sales, even in vastly unrelated exchanges with Jobs’s predecessor.
To see more from the interview, check out the video below: