Why There is no Longer a Show About Gawker Coming to Apple TV+

Apple CEO Tim Cook and Apple TV+

An Apple TV+ show based on the rise and fall of Gawker Media and its network of sites has been scrapped. According to Ben Smith at The New York Times, an email from Tim Cook ended the project.

Tim Cook Email Ends Gawker Apple TV+ Project

Mr. Smith reported:

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.

Those humiliations include the infamous discovery of an iPhone 4 before it was released, as well as the intrusions into Mr. Cook’s personal life. The show in question, called Scraper but obviously about Gawker, is now back out on the market.

Tech’s Influence in the Media Space

Mr. Smith’s column also raised some important points about the power tech companies, including Apple, now have on our media and cultural landscape.

Hollywood is now firmly in the grip of giant companies with singular leaders — Mr. Cook and Apple; Amazon and its chief executive, Jeff Bezos; the Netflix C.E.O. Reed Hastings; and AT&T’s top executive, John Stankey — with big consumer brands and other pressing priorities, like their lucrative other businesses and their access to international markets.

This was always going to be a difficult tightrope for Apple to walk. I’ve laughed at, and commented on, the number of Apple products that appear in TV+ shows and films. More seriously, the company is said to have laid out distinct rules to those it partners with. Notably, Eddy Cue, senior vice president for internet software and services, has apparently said that “the two things we will never do are hard-core nudity and China.”

It won’t happen on Apple TV+, but the Gawker story could still be told. Production company Anonymous Content has the rights to develop an article about its downfall. There may be some further hurdles to overcome, however. That company is partly controlled by Laurene Powell Jobs… Steve Jobs’s widow.

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