Apple TV+ Scraps Gawker Series After Email From ‘Surprised’ CEO Tim Cook (Report)

Defunct gossip website outed Cook as gay in 2011

Last Updated: December 14, 2020 @ 7:13 AM

Apple CEO Tim Cook seems to have personally killed an Apple TV+ series about Gawker, according to Ben Smith of The New York Times.

Apple TV+ had commissioned a series from Gawker Cord Jefferson and Max Read about the gossip website and “had completed several episodes,” according to Smith’s reporting. Read was once Gawker editor-in-chief.

“Then, an Apple executive got an email from the company’s chief executive, Tim Cook,” the New York Times wrote. “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.”

A spokesperson for Apple TV+ did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on the New York Times story.

Gawker outed Cook — before he ever made public comments on his sexuality — in January 2011, calling him “The Most Powerful Gay Man in Silicon Valley.” At the time, Cook was taking over an ailing Steve Jobs as the interim head of the tech giant.

What made the goings-on at Gawker worthy of a show in the first place, then — its editorial policy of punching up at the powerful in ways that other outlets would never dare, either for fear of retribution or dedication to certain ethical standards — could well be what brought about its short life at Apple TV.

That same editorial policy was what brought Gawker’s downfall in 2016, too, in a roundabout but not dissimilar way: Hulk Hogan sued the outlet for publishing a sex tape of his, but the big reveal was that Peter Thiel bankrolled the whole thing. Like Cook, Thiel was publicly outed by Gawker, too, in a 2007 piece called “Peter Thiel Is Totally Gay, People.”

Read Smith’s story here.