Breaking their silence over the violence at a white supremacist rally in the US, Microsoft’s Indian-born CEO Satya Nadella, Apple’s Tim Cook and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg have condemned the incident as “horrific” and “a disgrace” to the nation.
In an email to his leadership team which was obtained by Quartz, Nadella said the tragedy at Charlottesville in Virginia on August 12 — where a 32-year-old woman was killed — was “horrific”.
“There is no place in our society for the bias, bigotry and senseless violence we witnessed in Virginia provoked by white nationalists. Our hearts go out to the families and everyone impacted by the Charlottesville tragedy,” Nadella said.
Zuckerberg said the company is “watching the situation closely and will take down threats of physical harm”.
“There is no place for hate in our community. That’s why we’ve always taken down any post that promotes or celebrates hate crimes or acts of terrorism — including what happened in Charlottesville,” the Facebook CEO posted on his page on Thursday.
“With the potential for more rallies, we’re watching the situation closely and will take down threats of physical harm. We won’t always be perfect, but you have my commitment that we’ll keep working to make Facebook a place where everyone can feel safe,” he added.
US President Donald Trump had blamed “both sides” for the deadly violence at the white supremacist rally.
In a show of defiance, Trump told reporters in Manhattan that there were “two sides to a story” just a day after he had belatedly condemned racist hate groups for the mayhem at the “Unite the Right” rally in Virginia, the Washington Post reported.
He equated the white supremacists on one side with the “alt-left” on the other side and said that “alt-left” groups were “very, very violent” when they sought to confront the white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups that had gathered in Charlottesville.
According to Cook, the events of the past several days have been “deeply troubling” for him.
“I disagree with the President and others who believe that there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazis, and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights. Equating the two runs counter to our ideals as Americans,” Cook said in an email sent to employees and accessed by ReCode.
“What occurred in Charlottesville has no place in our country. Hate is a cancer, and left unchecked it destroys everything in its path. Its scars last generations. History has taught us this time and again, both in the US and countries around the world,” Cook added.
“I believe Apple has led by example, and we’re going to keep doing that. We have always welcomed people from every walk of life to our stores around the world and showed them that Apple is inclusive of everyone,” he noted.
Apple would make contributions of $1 million each to the Southern Poverty Law Centre and the Anti-Defamation League.
“We will also match two-for-one our employees’ donations to these and several other human rights groups, between now and September 30,” Cook wrote.
“Across Microsoft, we will stand together with those who are standing for positive change in the communities where we live, work and serve,” Nadella wrote.