Stewart recently wrote a piece on former BP CEO John Browne and the pressures he faced as a gay executive. During the segment on Squawk On the Street, Stewart said he was surprised that Browne was the first Fortune 500 CEO to come out as gay.
"There are gay CEOs in major companies, and I reached out to many of them," said Stewart. "I got an extremely cool reception, not one would allow to be named at all."
"I think Tim Cook is open about the fact he's gay at the head of Apple, isn't he?" asked Hobbs.
"Hmm. No," responded Stewart.
Silence immediately fell over over the news desk and Hobbs seemed to realize he made a mistake in bringing up the Apple executive's sexual orientation.
"I don't want to comment about anybody who might or might not be -- I'm not going to out anybody and I called a lot of people and no one at any major company would allow their names to be used," clarified Stewart.
Cook has been an outspoken LGBT rights advocate and was named on Out's 2013 power list, but he has refrained from commenting on his sexual orientation publicly.
Neither CNBC nor Apple have commented on the incident.
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