Report: Tim Cook intervened to kill Apple TV+ original series about Gawker

Earlier this year, it was reported that Apple TV+ was in the early stages of developing a series based on Gawker Media. Now, however, The New York Times reports that Apple TV+ has scrapped this show after CEO Tim Cook got wind of the project.

The series, which would have been called Scraper, was pitched by two former Gawker staffers, Max Read and Cord Jefferson. Apple even hired two more former Gawker editors, Emma Carmichael and Leah Beckmann, as writers, and had completed several episodes of the series.

Gawker Media and Apple had faced off several times in the past, as today’s report notes. In 2010, the Gawker property Gizmodo leaked images of the iPhone 4 after finding it in a bar. In 2008, Gawker outed Tim Cook as gay — six years before the Apple CEO published his public essay about equality.

The report goes on to say that once Cook found out that Apple TV+ was developing a series based on Gawker, he quickly moved to kill the project entirely. The show is now back on the market and services could pick it up.

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.

Today’s report also claims that Eddy Cue has told Apple TV+ leadership that ““the two things we will never do are hard-core nudity and China,” referring to potentially angering China with any of its original TV shows or movies. This was first reported by BuzzFeed News last year.

Finally, the report adds:

And then, there are the phones: A person involved in another recent Apple show recalled instructions to avoid a scene in which a phone would be damaged.

This is only the latest story we’ve heard about Apple executives being intertwined with Apple TV+ development. For instance, Tim Cook is said to have personally killed the original series Vital Signs over concerns it was too violent and sexual. The show would have been a drama based on Dr. Dre’s life.

You can read the full report at The New York Times.

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