Report: Apple TV+ Show Based on Gawker Media Got Scrapped After Tim Cook Intervened
Earlier this year, Vanity Fair claimed Apple was in the early stages of developing a series about Gawker. Called "Scraper," the series was reportedly pitched by two former Gawker staffers, Max Read and Cord Jefferson.
According to a New York Times report on Sunday, however, Apple scrapped the show after Cook heard about its development. Sources told the publication that Cook was "surprised" to learn Apple was making the show and emailed an Apple executive to express his "distinctly negative view" towards the project.
Mr. Cook, according to two people briefed on the email, was surprised to learn that his company was making a show about Gawker, which had humiliated the company at various times and famously outed him, back in 2008, as gay. He expressed a distinctly negative view toward Gawker, the people said. Apple proceeded to kill the project. And now, the show is back on the market and the executive who brought it in, Layne Eskridge, has left the company. Gawker, it seems, is making trouble again.
As the report notes, Apple had a fraught relationship with the now-defunct media company. Notably in 2010, it was Gawker-owned Gizmodo that got its hands on an iPhone 4 prototype that had been accidentally left in a bar by an Apple employee.
This isn't the first time we've heard about Apple executives influencing Apple TV+ content development. In 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that Cook killed off a Dr Dre biopic "Vital Signs" after being troubled by the show's scenes depicting drawn guns, sex, and drug use.
In addition, Sunday's NYT report claims that Eddy Cue, Apple's senior VP for internet software and services, has informed Apple TV+ partners that "the two things we will never do are hard-core nudity and China."
As the report notes, Apple has explained its "corporate red lines" to creators before. As early as 2018, when Apple's original programming production got underway, company executives reportedly gave guidance to some show creators to "avoid portraying China in a bad light."
The full report about the Gawker show development and Tim Cook's intervention is available to read at The New York Times.
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