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Tim Cook quashed the production of a TV show about the rise of Gawker, showing tech giant’s increasing power

In the shift to streaming, Big Tech companies will increasingly have massive influence over what content is seen.
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Apple canceled a TV series about the controversial blog network Gawker Media after CEO Tim Cook learned about it. What could have been an interesting original show on Apple TV Plus was canceled because of bad blood between Tim Cook and Gawker Media and, as Big Tech giants buy up the rights to streaming content, a future where Big Tech CEOs have a veto over the majority of the content released could be on the horizon.

According to a report in the New York Times, a show called Scraper was shut down by Apple. The show, which was sold to Apple TV Plus in January 2020, was shut down after Tim Cook learned about it. The report claims that Cook sent an email to another executive expressing his discontent that Apple was working on the show. Some two people briefed on the email claimed that Cook was surprised to learn about the show.

In 2008, when he was second in command to Steve Jobs, Gawker Media, now part of Gizmodo Media Group, outed Tim Cook as gay.

The media company also had a run-in with Apple in 2010 when it acquired a prototype for the iPhone 4 several months before it was launched. The then CEO, Steve Jobs, demanded the prototype’s return, and the case went as far as police officers raiding one of Gizmodo’s editor’s house.

Not only will the series not show on Apple TV+, but also the executive who bought it, Layne Eskridge, has left Apple.

Regardless of the checkered history between Apple and Gawker Media, the shutting down of Scraper shows increasing new oversight tech billionaires have over content.

Previously, Apple’s senior VP for internet, software, and services, Eddy Cue, who was oversight for Apple TV+ shows, had said that “the two things we will never do are hardcore nudity and China.” Scraper does not fit either category.

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