Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook joined the chorus of U.S. business leaders criticizing President Donald Trump's response to Saturday's deadly white-supremacist protests and said the technology giant would donate money to battle hate groups.
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In an email to employees late Wednesday, the head of the world's most valuable company described the events in Charlottesville, Va., as "repulsive," and said he disagrees "with the president and others" who see a moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazis on one side and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights on the other.
"Equating the two runs counter to our ideals as Americans," Mr. Cook wrote in the email, a copy of which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
"What occurred in Charlottesville has no place in our country," he wrote. "We must not witness or permit such hate and bigotry in our country, and we must be unequivocal about it. This is not about the left or the right, conservative or liberal. It is about human decency and morality."
Apple will contribute $1 million each to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League, Mr. Cook said. The company also plans to match employee contributions 2-for-1 to those organizations and other human-rights groups through next month, and to enable iTunes customers to join in contributing to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Mr. Cook's criticism of Mr. Trump followed a decision Wednesday by executives to disband two White House business councils. BlackSHYstone Group LP chief Stephen A. SchwarzSHYman, PepsiCo's Indra Nooyi and International Business Machines Corp.'s Ginni Rometty were among the memSHYbers of the PresSHYiSHYdent's StrateSHYgic and PolSHYicy FoSHYrum who deSHYcided to disSHYsolve the group.
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Mr. Cook has sought to engage the White House on some issues, and joined other prominent tech executives in meeting with Mr. Trump and administration officials for two tech summits since the presidential election.
Apple also has tangled with Mr. Trump repeatedly over the past year. On the campaign trail Mr. Trump called for Apple to make products in the U.S., and more recently he said the company will build three plants in the U.S.--a claim Apple has never confirmed. Earlier this year, Mr. Cook sent an email to staff criticizing Mr. Trump's executive order restricting immigration.
Mr. Cook's email Wednesday cited Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as saying, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
"These have been dark days, but I remain as optimistic as ever that the future is bright," Mr. Cook said.
Write to Tripp Mickle at Tripp.Mickle@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 17, 2017 02:26 ET (06:26 GMT)