CNBC accidentally outs Apple CEO as gay live on-air: ‘Oh, dear, was that an error?’

CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” co-host, Simon Hobbs, made a big slip on the air Friday when he accidentally outed Apple CEO Tim Cook as “openly gay.”

Cook has never confirmed or denied rumors about his sexuality and it couldn’t have been more uncomfortable for the group when New York Times columnist Jim Stewart shot Hobbs a look of disapproval as the other hosts awkwardly looked away.

Stewart was commenting on a recently published article on the “corporate culture that prevents powerful gay men from going public,” when Hobbs chimed in about Cook.

Hobbs inserted his foot deeply into his mouth after Stewart described the “very cool reception” he got from a number of CEOs he’d tried to contact for comment in the article.

“I think Tim Cook is fairly open about the fact he’s gay at the head of Apple, isn’t he?” Hobbs asked.

Once the genie was out of the bottle, there wasn’t much that could repair the harm.

“Oh, dear, was that an error? I thought he was open about it,” he said in shame. 

“I don’t want to comment about anybody who might or might not be,” Stewart said in a feeble attempt at damage control. “I’m not going to out anybody,’ he said.

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