A Friday morning segment of "Squawk on the Street" opened up a discussion regarding gay CEOs and business leaders. New York Times columnist James R. Stewart was invited on the program to discuss former BP CEO John Browne, who is gay. However, the segment derailed when CNBC co-host Simon Hobbs accidently outed Apple CEO Tim Cook as "openly gay" during the discussion.

"There are gay CEOs in major companies, and I reached out to many of them. I got an extremely cool reception, not one would allow to be named at all," said Stewart. James Stewart's statement suggested the difficult and stressful corporate culture that prevented powerful gay men from going public. However, neither Stewart or any of the fellow CNBC co-host expected the following response from Simon Hobbs:

"I think Tim Cook is fairly open about the fact he’s gay at the head of Apple, isn’t he?” Uh oh. When Simon Hobbs realized what he had done, he follows up with another awkward comment: "Oh, dear, was that an error?. I thought he was open about it.”

“I don’t want to comment about anybody who might or might not be,” Stewart said. “I’m not going to out anybody.”

According to James R. Stewart, we have witnessed legislation accomplish tremendous progress in gay rights, and we have also seen multiple professional athletes publically announce their sexual orientation at the risk of their careers. However, it is surprising to realize that no gay CEO desired to come out to the public. Shouldn't a CEO be strictly measured by objective criteria such as financial performance, instead of personal lifestyles and sexual orientation?

Tim Cook is the leader of arguably the most influential, and most beloved, company in the world. What's more, Tim is also a strong supporter of LBGT rights and immigration reform. In an inspiring speech, Tim Cook spoke before an audience: "Never allow people who fear anyone different from themselves to limit others human rights or deny others human dignity."

Be sure to watch the awkward CNBC segment as well as the uplifting human rights speech by Tim Cook in the videos below: