Apple CEO Tim Cook slammed Indiana’s religious freedom law after critics claimed it would lead to discrimination against members of the LGBT community, but such concerns didn’t stop him from doing deals to sell iPhones in Islamic countries that execute gays.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence has vowed to “fix” the controversial law by passing a follow up measure that makes it clear business owners cannot discriminate against gays and lesbians.
Pence has repeatedly defended the law, saying it’s not about allowing businesses to deny service. The measure prohibits state laws that “substantially burden” the right of a person, a religious institution or a business to follow their religious beliefs.
Numerous major companies threatened to boycott the state after the measure was passed.
Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted that the tech giant was “deeply disappointed” by the new law, while calling on Arkansas to veto a similar bill.
Cook also tweeted, “Around the world, we strive to treat every customer the same — regardless of where they come from, how they worship or who they love.”
However, this concern for members of the gay community being treated the same wasn’t evident when Cook chose to negotiate deals with countries that still execute people for being homosexual.
Cook oversaw the introduction of Apple products into Saudi Arabia in December last year.
Saudi Arabia punishes homosexuality with floggings, chemical castration, imprisonment, fines and execution – including beheadings.
Cook also visited the United Arab Emirates last year, visiting with Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The opening of two Apple stores in the UAE are imminent, with the one in Dubai being labeled the “world’s largest”.
The UAE is only slightly more forgiving than Saudi Arabia towards gays, but still meters out punishments of deportation, jail time, fines, and in some cases, death.
“Perhaps the leaders of these American companies believe they have less say in the policies of the communist or dictatorial nations where they do business. But it’s notable those policies haven’t stopped corporations from raking in massive profits from lands with truly oppressive governments,” writes Jamie Dean.
“Indeed, the growing list of businesses opposing Indiana’s law are indignant over abuses that haven’t yet happened and mostly likely wouldn’t happen under a law that mirrors federal legislation and similar laws in 19 states.”
Maybe Cook should reconsider who Apple does business with if he is really concerned about gay people being discriminated against for their sexual preferences.