Apple recently canceled Jon Stewart’s TV+ show, reportedly in part over disagreements with how to cover China. Now, Congress wants an answer from Apple on whether China was actually a factor in the decision.
As Deadline reports, a bipartisan select committee in the US House of Representatives has penned a letter to Apple inquiring about the influence China may have had on the decision to cancel the political commentary series.
In a letter to CEO Tim Cook, the members of the House of Representatives’ Select Committee on Competition with the Chinese Communist Party wrote, “While companies have the right to determine what content is appropriate for their streaming service, the coercive tactics of a foreign power should not be directly or indirectly influencing these determinations.”
They wrote, “If Jon Stewart can potentially be impeded from offering commentary on the CCP, what does this mean for less prominent personalities? While there is a chance that a high-profile individual like Jon Stewart can locate another streaming service where he can express his views on PRC-related matters, an aspiring comedian who wants to use satire to make broader points about human rights and authoritarianism faces even bleaker prospects. Respectfully, we believe that this needs to change and responsible creative professionals should be able to freely write and perform on PRC-related topics.”
Technically, Apple didn’t actually cancel “The Problem with Jon Stewart,” per the New York Times report. Rather, Stewart reportedly decided to walk away from the program as it existed on Apple’s platform rather than compromise on creative control. In addition to coverage of China, other hot-button issues, including the 2024 US presidential election, were points of contention.
Congress, often targeted by Stewart, is now going to bat against Apple for sort of canceling his show. More to come on this story as the Select Committee on Competition with the Chinese Communist Party expects a briefing from Apple on the matter by December 15.
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