Tim Cook personally killed Apple TV+ show about Gawker

Two Gawker veterans, Cord Jefferson, who left the site for a career writing for TV, and Max Read, Gawker’s former editor in chief, sold Apple on an idea for show called “Scraper” (but it was clearly about Gawker Media), the network of blogs that created mischief and headaches for America’s powerful until its targets sued the company into oblivion in 2016.

Apple hired two more former Gawker editors, Emma Carmichael and Leah Beckmann, as writers, and they had completed several episodes in the can.

Then, Apple CEO Tim Cook heard about it.

Ben Smith for The New York Times:

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook
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 [Apple].

Gawker was always a canary in the cultural coal mine, mostly because of its mission of heading farther along the coal face than others wanted or dared to… And when it was reported in 2016 that the tech mogul Peter Thiel had secretly financed the lawsuit that brought down the company, it seemed the final truth Gawker had exposed was the power and determination of Silicon Valley to bring the media to heel.

But now, from beyond the grave, Gawker is revealing another reality in this era of media consolidation: that the chief executive of one of the biggest companies in the world, who testifies before Congress and negotiates with China, also decides what television shows get made.

So far, Apple TV+ is the only streaming studio to bluntly explain its corporate red lines to creators — though Disney, with its giant theme park business in China, shares Apple’s allergy to antagonizing China’s leader, Xi Jinping. Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president for internet software and services, who has been at the company since 1989, has told partners that “the two things we will never do are hard-core nudity and China,” one creative figure who has worked with Apple told me. (BuzzFeed News first reported last year that Mr. Cue had instructed creators to “avoid portraying China in a poor light.”)

MacDailyNews Take: Well, yes, for better or worse, Tim Cook decides what television shows get made for Apple TV+ (which hardly encompasses every television show). As will Apple’s next CEO and the CEOs after that.

37 Comments

      1. ….. he’s the boss., he can and will do whatever he fukking wants, I could care less gay thing.., he’s the boss, he made a decision, onward team…, no big fukking deal here…👍🍁🌿

    1. And for better or worse TheloniusMac decides what comments he wishes to make, and BugX, and GoeB, and Tau Myx, and FirstThen, and Steve Jack and…

    1. The essence of free speech is that the speaker gets to control his own message. That applies equally to corporate entities like Apple as it does to anybody else. You have a right to say things I disagree with, but not the right to borrow my megaphone to do it.

        1. Who said that Apple TV+ was a public accommodation? It isn’t a local tax-supported cable access channel that has to air every production that comes along. It is a for-profit service of a for-profit corporation that can make editorial decisions based on its own commercial interests. Everybody understood that until the rise of allegedly-conservative socialists who think that the government should have a role in the running of private businesses. No, the First Amendment does not require conservatives to promote liberal propaganda… or vice versa.

          1. I didn’t say AppleTV+ was a public accommodation you hell-bound liar. Theloniusmac mentioned the social media companies and they were included in the topic people were discussing. Don’t pull that lying shit with me, chief.

            1. Look at the top of the page. It says “MacDailyNews.” Right below that it says, “Tim Cook personally killed Apple TV+ show about Gawker.” Yes, there was an incidental mention in some earlier comments on the thread about Twitter and Facebook, but the discussion was overwhelmingly about Apple TV+. My comment that you directly replied to expressly referenced “corporate entities like Apple.” Any reasonable reader would have assumed that you were also talking about Apple.

              Apple is not a public accommodation. It is not a monopoly. It is not a social media company enjoying Section 230 protections. Therefore your comment was a complete non sequitur, which I calmly pointed our just before your profanity-laced tirade, Snowflake.

            2. TxLIAR you lost the fight and are too stupid and dishonest to admit it. Your righteous ego cannot change the fact you deflected and lied about what J.T. posted and the coward in you cannot respond ON TOPIC in a forthright respectful fashion. We all got your number, take a hike and shut your dishonest pie hole…

        2. J.T., welcome to the Number One DEFLECTION SPECIALIST TxDEM who is incapable of staying on topic if it doesn’t support Democrat policies.

          Noticed he did not respond to your post directly and specifically: “monopoly enjoying Section 230 protections” and instead tried to put words in your mouth and you picked up on it and excellent response, BTW. Been there many times.

          Reason being, he would have to admit monopolies in social media continually suppress conservative voices and promote megaphones to Democrat liberal voices. The 230 law grants them legal protections to do so which is OUTDATED law from the early years of the Internet and JUST WRONG in this day and age.

          To a dishonest partisan Democrat like Tx, this is all well and good because it favors his team. Suspends pious pronouncements about the Constitution he selectively preaches. If Section 230 favored the conservative team he would join the liberal media mob screaming bloody murder. So much for liberal Democrats defending freedom of speech when it SILENCES conservatives — never happen.

          I’m sure Tx has no problem with 95% of political contributions from Silicon Valley going to Democrats. Also no problem CEOs in Silicon Valley are liberal Democrats and ABUSE Section 230 to CENSOR and SILENCE Conservative voices in the past election.

          While at the same time, Big Social Media allowed posting of Russian collusion for YEARS proven false and every other number of negative theories damaging to President Trump and that’s constitutional?

          No, not constitutional it is a cabal of shameless lying partisan CEOs taking full advantage of a FLAWED law practicing censorship and discrimination — period!

          Denial and Deflection is coming…

  1. For better or worse – I think this can be one of those “for worse.” Just on the face of it, Apple having control and rights over this, could have color coated it to a large degree to their liking. Now? It’s all-out hammer Apple time. Tell me THAT will be better for their image and brand vs doing it themselves and looking more transparent?

    It isn’t going to be good for Apple overall. It’s one paper cut, but paper cuts hurt!

    Comes across as being a big fish in small pond move by Cook.

  2. I agree with Cook on this one. Gawker had no right to publicly oust people’s private lives and the harm was real. It’s easy to judge Cook’s decision but it wasn’t just him they harmed, it was many people and ruined them. What gives anyone that right?

    Even so, if it’s my store or I’m the manager of that store and I don’t want to stock a product or products that don’t what I think out store image is, I have that choice. If the owner(s) don’t like it, they can fire me. Pretty simple.

    And yes, it’s a one person decision and no different than the evening news chief editor.

    1. Uninteresting and unsurprising – just like a John Dungler (f)artwork. That master or the scatological, that traitor to America and American values – John Dung, LA (f)artist… anti family, anti western values. Exile him to Beijing where he belongs and where President Xi would execute him forthwith for crimes against decency.

    1. Wow. Intrude on someone’s closely held personal secrets and sell that information for profit when there is no public need or good being served. You’re fine with that?

      Tim Cook was born and raised Baptist in Alabama which must have been pure HELL growing up gay. The state’s sex ed system still states ” that homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public and that homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under the laws of the state.” https://codes.findlaw.com/al/title-16-education/al-code-sect-16-40a-2.html There is clearly an ongoing anti-gay sentiment in the state which means his lifelong friends, business relationships, family etc. were all directly affected by Gawker’s actions, no doubt with serious personal consequences. But “no harm” because he’s successful and rich?

      Maybe I’m mistaken. You’ve been in personal psychotherapy sessions with Tim and after months of sessions it’s quite clear that reckoning with the fallout of something like this has been no problem at all – he was just not telling anyone because he was too busy. Yeeeesh.

      Wow, just wow. I have seen some inhumane statements these past 4 years but yours makes my top 10 list.

      1. Having her sex tape leaked ultimately turned out OK for Kim Kardasian, but that doesn’t make leaking it OK, or even legal. You codgers might be too old for a sex tape, but do you think that Gawker or its successors in the sleaze market would have the right to publish a sex tape of your daughter or granddaughter without her consent? How about outing your son and destroying his career at a less tolerant employer than Apple?

        Much of what Gawker did was objectively evil. That didn’t justify Thiel in suing it into bankruptcy, but it is a reason not to celebrate it on Apple TV+ as a culture hero.

        1. “Much of what Gawker did was objectively evil. That didn’t justify Thiel in suing it into bankruptcy”

          Sure the fuck did. Why can’t you admit to yourself that you truly are a libturd? Everyone knows it except you.

      2. “Tim Cook was born and raised Baptist in Alabama which must have been pure HELL growing up gay.”

        That’s what he gets for being a degenerate. And by the way, he hasn’t seen hell yet, but he will. And so will you.

  3. “But now, from beyond the grave, Gawker is revealing another reality in this era of media consolidation: that the chief executive of one of the biggest companies in the world, who testifies before Congress and negotiates with China, also decides what television shows get made.”

    Oh my, there’s only dozens of other networks who can decide to finance the show (assuming they think it might be profitable), not to mention the option of posting it on YouTube, Vimeo, or the creators’ personal websites. The idea that AppleTV (or Facebook, or Twitter) has the power to prevent someone from publishing something is quite ludicrous.

    1. This. These kind of decisions (what to produce/what not to produce) are made at every media company. The specifics behind the decisions are immaterial.

      What’s surprising here is how it got to several completed episodes before Cook nixed it. Was it meant to be a serious show or, like most shows I’ve seen about media, a low audience, cult-appealing parody of its subject matter. If it was the latter if might have been in Cooks’ best interests to air the show… except he then might have accused “kicking someone when they were down”, so-to-speak.

      Got to figure whoever was below Cook that made the decisions about the show is now low man on Apple’s totem pole.

    2. As is the notion that anyone has the right to force a private company to carry their message. What’s next, forcing Chanel to adopt Pepe le Pew as a spokesperson for No. 5? It is Apple’s brand and they have the right to control its message.

  4. It was a show. For entertainment. I don’t think that Cook should involve himself in the Apple TV+ side of things to this degree. His sensibilities should not control all of Apple’s business decisions.

    There are a lot of shows based on events that are not entirely savory. In fact, most shows capitalize on the more negative side of human nature – pretty much all of the crime, court, and forensics shows, for instance. But, when you take a closer look, the daytime and primetime dramas and comedy often join the list, along with reality shows. One of my daughters is watching 90-Day Fiancee, for example, and that is a sad, sad show.

    I generally accept Apple’s decisions regarding content within their ecosystem. But the entertainment world is bigger than Tim Cook. I would say the same thing about Steve Jobs, were he still alive and CEO. There is a point at which a CEO has to separate self from company.

    1. Like have the self-control to NOT put up a rainbow colored bandshell at the Cupertino headquarters that’s, otherwise, a pure architectural tour de force? That kind? I’ll answer because it’s a definite “yes” for me.

      What an imbalanced and self-serving decision.

        1. You are so influenced by your preconceptions, it clouds what’s before you. It repeats itself like clockwork.

          There are numerous responses that relate, but did you miss what I said about “pure architectural?” Pure architecture needs, nor should have any political, or pet/personal stamp. It was primarily a Steve design. Prior to this trite bandshell addition, was there ANY evidence of such a statement that was outside of “PURE” visual concept?

          It’s like serving a popsicle at a tuxedo dinner, chewing bubble gum at the opera, or throwing some glitter on a 2-D masterpiece.

          1. And, besides what difference does it make if there’s one, two, or three others that support the idea of making a shrine-like form for “their-group”?

            Using such a rationale would mean there’d be “commemorative” forms all over the campus for each group/people that don’t have “proper representation” (and who defines what that means?).

            Where’s the sculpture for the plumbers that have long been ridiculed for their vocation that necessitates contact with other people’s sh t? Adding to that is their experience of constant ridicule about the “plumber’s crack,” and no one stands up for them. I bet Tim didn’t even broach the possibility of a big wrench in the courtyard?

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