Sex & Violence Rattles Apple Boss
As Apple cranks up its battle with Netflix and Amazon in the content market a major problem has emerged with Apple CEO Tim Cook not happy with sex or violence in Apple produced content.
According to insiders Cook got upset when he watched Apple’s first scripted drama, “Vital Signs,”.
The show, a dark, semi-biographical tale of hip-hop artist Dr. Dre, featured characters doing lines of cocaine, an extended orgy in a mansion and drawn guns.
It’s too violent, Mr. Cook told Apple Music executive Jimmy Irvine, said people familiar with Apple’s entertainment plans. Apple can’t show this.
The WSJ said that Apple earmarked $1 billion for Hollywood programming last year. But in the tone CEO Mr. Cook has set for it, whatever Apple produces mustn’t taint a pristine brand image that has helped the company collect 80% of the profits in the global smartphone market.
Apple’s entertainment team must walk a line few in Hollywood would consider. Since Mr. Cook spiked “Vital Signs,” Apple has made clear, say producers and agents, that it wants high-quality shows with stars and broad appeal, but it doesn’t want gratuitous sex, profanity or violence.
The moral high ground taken by Apple is music to the ears of Netflix, HBO and Amazon executives who have made their mark in original content with edgier programming that often wins critical acclaim.
Netflix, which helped birth the streaming revolution, built its original-content business on “House of Cards,” a drama about an ethically bankrupt politician, and “Orange Is the New Black,” a comedic drama about a women’s prison. Both feature rough language and plenty of sex.