TV | December 14, 2020 12:07 pm

Tim Cook Reportedly Killed “Scraper,” an Apple TV Show About Gawker

The blog outed Cook back in 2008

Tim Cook CEO of Apple
Tim Cook attends the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 05, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California.
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

On paper, it sounds like a big get for any streaming service: Scraper, a show that changed the name of its titular blog but was clearly based on Gawker Media with many former Gawker employees — including Cord Jefferson, Max Read, Emma Carmichael and Leah Beckmann — attached to the project. And as a New York Times piece points out, Apple TV+ had picked up the series — with several episodes already completed — before Apple CEO Tim Cook caught wind and squashed it.

“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,” the publication writes. “He expressed a distinctly negative view toward Gawker, the people said. Apple proceeded to kill the project.”

The project is now back on the market, and Layne Eskridge, the executive responsible for bringing it to Apple TV+, has since left the company.

It certainly makes sense that Cook would be hesitant to produce a show about the blog that outed him, but it also raises questions about the power big tech companies wield over the creative decisions made by the streaming services they own.

As the Times notes, “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.”