back to article Tim Cook 'killed' TV project about the one website Apple hates more than The Register

Tim Cook reportedly intervened personally to stop Apple TV from producing a series loosely inspired by the antics of Gawker – the controversial and infamously combative blog, which routinely lambasted figures in media, tech, and entertainment. The cancelled telly show was dubbed "Scraper", according to The New York Times, and …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gawker's downfall

    Was that it speculated, correctly, that Peter Theil was gay - while he was denying it in public.

    He then secretly funded the legal cases of anyone who was prepared to sue Gawker - which led to it's shutdown. The law firm was itself censured for not acting in its client's (ie Hulks) interest but taking orders from Theil to not agree to any settlement.

    Something of a chilling effect, imagine if the Register never said anything bad about Apple again - but it was having to defend against 1000s of libel cases being brought by everyone else, with Apple secretly encouraging and funding them.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Gawker's downfall

        And private-eye was out and out mean to Robert Maxwell and lost a lot of libel cases, until they all turned out to be true.

        The danger of the gawker case was that somebody can essentially DDOS libel case you, especially in somewhere like London where it's easy to sue for libel

        1. 96percentchimp

          Re: Gawker's downfall

          The difference is that Private Eye deals in hard news and their lawyers ensure that anything potentially libellous is a solid story. They're real journalists. I don't remember why they lost vs Maxwell, but it turned out they were right in the long run.

          Gawker OTOH, was sloppy tabloid journalism. They picked fights with everyone just for the lolz (and the clicks) and when it inevitably went wrong, they cried wolf. Peter Thiel seems like a pretty awful human, but they outed him with no good reason, and shouldn't have been surprised when he got his revenge.

          Looking back, Gawker's campaign of outing gay tech figures like Thiel and Cook has a nasty air of homophobia.

          Now these sloppy hacks are trying to reinvent themselves as "edgy" tech journalists. That story's already been told: it was called Nathan Barley.

          1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

            Re: Gawker's downfall

            Came to make the same point. I don't particularly like Thiel, but Gawker were grubby bottom feeders and got what was coming.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Gawker's downfall

        "out-and-out mean and nasty to lots and lots of people", so far, in agreement...

        "beat them like a redheaded stepchild", hmmm..., couldn't you have found a less gratuitously nasty way to make that particular point yourself? I really don't understand the "hur-hur, let's pick on redhaired people" thing at all, or why it's relatively common and somehow deemed "acceptable".

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Gawker's downfall

          I see a lot of hypocrisy like that around.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Gawker's downfall

          Redheads.. That poor abused race. Rollseyes.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Gawker's downfall

            Now you're really getting my Irish up.

        3. Plest Bronze badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Gawker's downfall

          As father to a natural born redhead, one who's immensely proud of her roots (literally), I often ask people who pick on the redheads, "So if I substitute the word 'black' for 'ginger', would you still carry on mouthing off crap insults like a dickhead?!". You're not big or clever picking on someone simply for the colour of their hair.

          I hate to imagine the torment my daughter has suffered in the last 20 years while at school, she remined me the other day after another moron shouted at her across the street, "Ha, ha, ha. 'Cuffs match the curtains?', never heard that before. Out of interest why are you interested in the colour of my ****y you utter pervert?!!". Yet she refuses to colour it, tint it and only gets it cut to remove the split ends.

          Don't worry morons, according to recent findings the "carrot tops" are a dying breed, their numbers dwindling and soon you won't have anyone to use your nasty little "hairest" insults on anymore.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Gawker's downfall

            > "Out of interest why are you interested in the colour of my ****y you utter pervert?!!". Yet she refuses to colour it, tint it and only gets it cut to remove the split ends."

            Why the hell would you know that, or even share it?

            1. ElPedro100

              Re: Gawker's downfall

              Not sure I understand the two upvotes for a response that has so obviously not understood the comment it is in response to.

              1. Poncey McPonceface

                Re: Gawker's downfall

                Or, they did understand the comment and decided to deliberately pretend to misunderstand to take advantage of some rather unfortunate phrasing and the parsing thereof.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Gawker's downfall

          Oh look, someone has decided to be offended and play the victim card. Sorry mate, it's not about you. I had reddish hair until it went grey and that common phrase redheaded stepchild doesn't bother me in the slightest as its more of a harmless piss take along the lines of calling someone goofy or big ears. Its nothing like the denigrating assumption of inferiority implied with negative words and phrases used against coloured people. Perhaps go cuddle the therapy teddy in a safe space if it upsets you so much.

      3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Gawker's downfall

        "I don't like how you make use of your freedom of expression, so I'm all for horrible billionaires manipulating the justice system to strip you of your civil rights."

    2. goldcd

      I don't quite follow the logic.

      Gawker outed Thiel - not illegal, he didn't sue, but they made an enemy.

      Gawker published Hulk Hogan's sex tape - this was illegal, but they assumed he wouldn't be able to afford to sue them.

      Thiel backed Hogan to sue Gawker and won - Hogan got his justice, Thiel destroyed his enemy.

      Lawsuits are expensive - this is the problem/weapon.

      Yes, Apple could back 1000s of libel cases against El Reg, and this would be bad - but this isn't what happened here. Thiel didn't back 1000s of cases against Gawker to grind them down with legal costs (and you'd hope if he did, punitive costs/counter-suits would be awarded against him for frivolous and baseless actions - although sadly not normally the case).

      The 'expensive lawsuit' problem in this case was that Gawker felt they could get away with illegally publishing the sex tape, as Hulk wouldn't be able to afford risking legal action.

      i.e. They wouldn't have published a sex-tape of Thiel, as they knew he was rich enough to sue. They published it as they thought they had more funds available than Hogan - and came a cropper as they were wrong.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: I don't quite follow the logic.

        Gawker published Hulk Hogan's sex tape - this was illegal

        Was it? Citation needed.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: I don't quite follow the logic.

          Breach of copyright? Theft, or receiving stolen goods?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gawker's downfall

      There's a difference between going after people who are corrupt, and outing someone for being gay.

      How can't you see that?

  2. Joe Gurman

    Well, of course

    "Fictional bad guys, can't, for example, use iPhones and MacBooks. During the run of espionage thriller 24, it became immediately apparent who was the antagonist, based on their computer of choice. If they used Windows, they were suspect."

    And how is that different from what used to be (before this year) so cavalierly referred to as "real life?"

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: If they used Windows, they were suspect

      except NCIS where they use windows all the time. Oh wait... :) :)

      1. Avatar of They

        Re: If they used Windows, they were suspect

        NCIS LA and Hawaii 50 are the same, but it does state "sponsored partly by Microsoft" in the credits. So all good guys have MS. NCIS LA must have the dreaded (introduce new MS kit) clause which states they have to slow down and over dramatise any new Windows tech. Like the guy slowly taking out and clipping the surface keyboard when at a crime scene and following the question "Where is your computer?"

        You know who the bad guys is by not seeing them using tech. :)

        1. Potemkine! Silver badge

          Re: If they used Windows, they were suspect

          You know who the bad guys is by not seeing them using tech.

          Nah, you know who is the bad guy in US movies/series when he's French: a french girl is glamourous, a french guy must be a bad guy. An expression of the "english side" of the US culture I guess :-P

          1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

            Re: If they used Windows, they were suspect

            C'mon, everyone knows the villain is always British!

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Well, of course

      I guess you can't get the bad guy software running on iPhones or Macs, they're too locked down.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Well, of course

        No, iOS only runs on Apple kit and alien spaceships!

    3. I am the liquor

      Re: Well, of course

      24 was like a 60-minute IT kit ad break wasn't it. If the camera wasn't lovingly lingering on the blinkenlights of the Dell PowerEdges, then you were probably either looking at a Cisco logo on a TelePresence screen or listening to the characteristic ringtone of one of their IP phones.

    4. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

      Re: Well, of course

      Bad Guys can use iThings, as long as they are not provided for free by Apple Inc. but purchased by the production.

      e.g.: Iron Sky 2

    5. John Savard Silver badge

      Re: Well, of course

      In real life, bad guys use iPhones a lot... because their encryption is harder to crack.

    6. Spanners Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Well, of course

      And how is that different from what used to be (before this year) so cavalierly referred to as "real life?"

      In "real life" people who have enough money to randomly use the latest Apple #shiny things are either

      1. Hugely into technology and have a preference

      2. Ignorant or

      3. Dodgy

      We can all have our opinion about where 1 or 2 is the biggest because, away from TV/films, dodgy rich people are not so common,

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well, of course

      Sir Terry Wogan used to say that it was easy to spot the murderer on Midsummer Murders - it would be the most famous actor guest staring that week!

      1. the Jim bloke Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Well, of course

        On "Bones", it was the second person they met...

        every show.

  3. heyrick Silver badge

    The promo that never was

    Close up of Tim Cook.

    Baritone voice: This time (dramatic pause) it's personal.

    Cut to something exploding in a Jerry Andersonish manner.

  4. HAL-9000
    Pint

    A badge of honour

    You're not trying hard enough if you haven't offended the likes Tim Cook

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: A badge of honour

      There was a head of BP that was caught in a rent boy 'scandal', he was commenting that now he is publicly shamed for being head of an oil company (although ironically he did try and shift it towards a post oil future) while nobody cares about the sex

      1. Franco Silver badge

        Re: A badge of honour

        Saw an interesting example of this recently. Brewdog are very active on social media, and announced a new beer that was either zero-carbon or very low carbon to produce, a claim that was denounced in the comments on LinkedIn by someone who worked for BP. As the Human Torch would say, Flame On!

        Can't find the post now unfortunately but it was a very entertaining read, unusually for LinkedIn.

        1. Franco Silver badge

          Re: A badge of honour

          Still can't find the original post, but here's a summary

          https://www.energyvoice.com/renewables-energy-transition/280180/brewdog-bp-darth-vader/

  5. The Alphabet

    Gawker was blacklisted until 2014. How long is El Reg going now?

    1. Kristian Walsh

      I can't be arsed to look up what year MacOS X "Jag-wire" came out, but El Reg highlighting Jobs's bizarre pronunciation of the word was allegedly the trigger...

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

        A few years ago I was looking for a car to buy and I watched videos about the one I had my eye on.

        The American videos were amazing for the pronunciation: "The all new Jag-waa coup!"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          So did you get the Jag in the end, or did you go for a Hoon-Day? Or perhaps a Knee-sonn or did you splash out for a Por-shuh or an Aww-dee?

          (I know, I know, some of those are actually closer to their Korean, Japanese and German pronunciations than the way we pronounce them in the UK...)

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Maybe he bought a Poo-joo!

          2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

            Yes,I bought the jag-wah coop.

            1. Franco Silver badge

              I prefer bikes so I bought a Doo-kahtee.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tim Apple

    Lovely man...

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Tim Apple

      Does he still do Lilly at all?

      Can you still buy him off with a small cute dog?

      1. TimMaher Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Tim Apple

        It says he’s a Southerner not a Northener.

        Mine’s the one with the bottle of Boddingtons in the pocket.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apologies if this sounds stupid

    But I had never heard of either Apple TV or Gawker. A cursory pair of internet searches tells me that both do indeed exist but for a moment I thought I was reading a mislabelled bork bork bork article. Which of course made it rather more interesting.

    And why would they care if anyone was gay or not? Did they have a dating section or something?

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: why would they care

      Means nothing to me but keeping it a secret meant a great deal the Thiel. Presumably the opinion of homophobes mattered to him. Homosexuality is one of the few things where IOKIYAR does not apply.

      1. Simian Surprise
        Black Helicopters

        Re: why would they care

        Well, Palantir is a company that makes a lot of its revenue from contracts with the U.S. Federal government, and many supporters of the sorts of (para-)military and surveillance programs that Palantir "help" with are also deeply conservative Christians* of the "burn the gays!" ilk.

        Sounds likely to be (at least partially) a PR concern.

        Which, shoot, do I need to be concerned now? (See icon.)

        * not to paint all Christians with this brush, of course.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: why would they care

          Oh I don't know. Society has gay people, but the far right could just as well be called the closet interiors appreciation society, starting with that Austrian immigrant with the Charlie Chaplin moustache.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: why would they care

        The post above clearly says:

        > why would they care

        It doesn't say why would you, or Mr Thiel, or anyone else in the world, would care.

    2. FlamingDeath Silver badge

      Re: Apologies if this sounds stupid

      It’s a tabloid in digital form

      Move along, nothing to see here

      If you ignore them, eventually they’ll fuck off and find a proper job

      1. CuChulainn

        Re: Apologies if this sounds stupid

        I wish that were true, but the 'tabloids' typically get a much higher readership than serious newspapers.

        In digital form, it's why certain social media and YouTube channels dealing with aliens, conspiracies, and anti-vax rhetoric get so many followers.

        On comments sections within serious news articles (BBC, for example) the number of people who post links supporting some claim they just made to the likes of The Corbett Report is frightening.

        They only go away if someone puts them away, unfortunately. Otherwise, the general public consists of easily enough of the necessary mindset to keep them going.

  8. Tim99 Silver badge
    Trollface

    "If they used Windows, they were suspect"

    A not entirely unreasonable initial approach? Trust, but verify?

  9. HildyJ Silver badge
    Devil

    "If they used Windows, they were suspect."

    If they use Windows computers, they are suspect.

    If they use Apple computers, they could have been successful but for the cost of buying each new computer offering and paying for the hipster lifestyle.

    If they use Linux computers, they were successful until the neighbors complained about their loud arguments about what distro was best.

    1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: "If they used Windows, they were suspect."

      Just usual house chores are enough...

  10. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Bubba the Love Sponge.

    A curious name for a lady... but what do I know about US nomenclature?

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Bubba the Love Sponge.

      Bubba is (as far as I could work out) a guy. It was his wife that Hulk Hogan was schtupping.

      (rtfa :) )

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bubba the Love Sponge.

        While Tim and Peter were taking care of Bubba?

      2. not.known@this.address Silver badge

        Re: Bubba the Love Sponge.

        Given that this was Florida, I wouldn't be totally shocked to find out Bubba was, in real life, a sponge. As in the sort of soft fluffy things to be found in shallow water along the coastline or in the tanks at SeaWorld.

  11. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Joke

    Tim is NOT Gay!

    A pity that The Register did not come up with that headline at the time when Gawker implied the opposite.

    Gawker: Tim is Gay

    El Reg: Oh no he isn't

    Gawker: Oh yes he is

    Tim: Oh no I am not

    Gawker: Oh yes you are

    Tim: Oh no I am not

    El Reg: Yes he is not

    Gawker: Oh yes he is

    Tim: Oh all right then, I'm in. I mean, out

  12. chivo243 Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    On Apple's Apple Pie TV

    I highly doubt it... this seems like SOP for Apple. Is that a nipple I see? No, nothing to see on Apple TV...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: On Apple's Apple Pie TV

      > Is that a nipple I see?

      That seems to be the case across all of American television, isn't it? Which I suppose it's OK if that's their culture, but it bothers me that it appears to be becoming a fashion this side of the Atlantic as well. I don't watch television but I seem to recall overhearing those stupid "beeps" on some European broadcast too. We never had those back in the day, at worst the soundtrack would be silenced, and usually not for profanities.

  13. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Apple vs Reality

    I'm no fan of nasty sites like Gawker (the name says it all really) but I also intensely dislike Apple for their continuous "editing" and suppression of events. Hopefully the team behind the series will take it elsewhere and get the series made. Normally I wouldn't care but I'll watch it just to piss Apple off. I've never trusted Apple to do anything except milk their fanboiz for every last penny and I laugh when people complain to me about being locked in to the Apple system.

    1. FlamingDeath Silver badge

      Re: Apple vs Reality

      I just remortgaged the home and I am now a proud owner of an Apple monitor stand.

      Next week, I am going to sell the sprogs and will get me a pair of Apple headphones

      I cant wait for their latest “innovations”

      3 cameras not enough? Next model has 6 cameras with added electrolytes

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Apple vs Reality

        If you sell a kidney you might get enough cash for some Apple wheels for the box in the corner.

  14. IHateWearingATie
    Trollface

    El Reg worse than Gizmodo?

    Just how naughty have you been El Reg, when Gizmodo buying a stolen phone and writing about it only gets them a 2 year Apple Ban, when you are in the perma-banned category?

    Did you stamp on St Steve's kitten or something? Tell Tim C he was holding the phone wrong in a press interview? Suggest that some Apple products might be a tiny bit overpriced?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: El Reg worse than Gizmodo?

      All of the above, allegedly!

    2. A. Coatsworth

      Re: El Reg worse than Gizmodo?

      Gizmodo just delved in stolen goods and corporate espionage. No big deal, forgotten and forgiven after a few years

      El Reg maintains the unforgivable heresy that St. Jobs is not the greatest person in the history of mankind. A much more abhorrent crime.

      Not only that, but they like to remind us of this every so often (the article on Wosniak's 70 birthday is a good example) which means they are "renewing" their ban on an ongoing basis.

      … and I love them for that!

  15. IGotOut Silver badge

    Just a question?

    How did they "intervene" exactly?

    Or is this just a friend of a friend heard off a bloke at the bus stop who read it on Facebook where it had been reposted from Twitter from an account created 30 seconds before?

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: 'so they say'

      Sounds like Donald {soon to be former Presidente} Trump.

      He seems to use phrases like:-

      So they tell me

      I heard...

      all the time. Just because if is on Social Media does not make it true. That's clearly 'Fake News'.

      Well said iGO

  16. TheProf Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Vertical

    "Two years later, the site's tech vertical, Gizmodo,"

    I've just looked up the definition of vertical and I have no idea what you mean.

    Perhaps a not fallen-down-drunk BOFH?

    1. TimMaher Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Vertical

      I think that is injecting some jargon where the word 'specialist' would have been more appropriate.

      Silo might have worked just as well although the journalist in question would then be silage.

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Perhaps "department" is meant, but does that apply if it is one person as you suggest?

  17. jason_derp Bronze badge

    Tim Cook isn't gay

    There's way too much social credit with the Apple demographic and free publicity in Tim Cook being gay for it not to be exploited into the stratosphere if it were true. And after the initial reveal he'd pull a Dave Rubin and spin it so that the right could call him "one of the good ones." Not buying it Gawker.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That video

    Linked in the article.

    Funny thing is, I don't watch films or television, it bores me greatly. But I do find the details of how it is all made terribly interesting. The guy also covers both artistic and technical aspects, which is nice; especially loved his attention to composition.

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