Reports have emerged that Apple CEO Tim Cook has stepped in to ensure that the company did not produce a TV show which is inspired by gossip outlet Gawker.
Claims by The New York Times say that Cook, who is one of the the most powerful openly gay men in the world, was the least bit excited to hear that his company had picked up the TV show Scraper, which is based on Gawker. In 2016, Gawker was sued by PayPal co-founder and Facebook board member Peter Thiel after a series of salacious articles, one of which outed Cook.
Branching into TV streaming with Apple TV+, the tech giant had gained the rights for Scraper from two former Gawker members – editor-in-chief Max Read and writer Cord Jefferson.
Cook was outed by Gawker six years before he was ready, which could be one of the reasons he wanted production of the show ceased.
At that time the then managing editor Owen Thomas, who is gay himself, published an article entitled, Is Apple COO Tim Cook Gay? The article was filled with speculation about Cook’s sexuality. At that time Cook was Apple’s Chief Operating Officer and the heir-apparent to founder Steve Jobs.
Then in 2011, when Cook took over as CEO from Jobs, Gawker published a piece, this time by a different writer, which labelled Cook “the most powerful gay man in America.”
In 2014 Cook came out as gay publicly, but has never publicly spoken of the Gawker articles or what the impact, if any, they had on him or his family.
Toward the end of Gawker’s life it became known for ‘outing gay people’ which saw it come under fire and ultimately led to the end of the publication.
At the time the articles were written in 2007, Thiel was openly gay in his private life but not publicly. As a consequence Thiel believed that one article by Owen Thomas ‘violated’ his privacy and subsequently set into motion a decade-long battle to push the publication out of business.
Thiel ultimately succeeded after funding a lawsuit by wrestler Hulk Hogan, who was awarded massive damages after Gawker published a video of him having sex with a friend’s wife.