A House of Representatives committee, comprising lawmakers keen on understanding Apple’s decision-making, is seeking clarification on the abrupt cancellation of the talk show “The Problem With Jon Stewart” on its streaming platform. Hosted by Jon Stewart, the current affairs TV series briefly premiered on Apple TV+ in 2021 but was discontinued before its third season, allegedly due to “disagreements” over show topics.
Reuters reports that lawmakers are specifically interested in whether the show’s coverage and criticism of China played a role in its cancellation. Government officials have requested Apple’s response to this inquiry by December 15, 2023.
In a letter addressed to the tech giant, House members acknowledged Apple’s right to curate content for its platform but expressed concerns about potential influence from coercive tactics by a foreign power. This bipartisan effort involves members affiliated with the House of Representatives Select Committee on Competition with the Chinese Communist Party, representing both the Republican and Democratic parties.
“As China is to America, Texas is to Illinois” – @JonStewart on how corporations pit states against each other to offer the fewest worker protections and biggest tax incentives. pic.twitter.com/q6L1lSjoPx
— The Problem With Jon Stewart (@TheProblem) July 27, 2023
About 19 percent of Apple’s sales, totaling over $72.5 billion in net sales for the company’s fiscal 2023, concluded in September, originate from China. While it could be rational for the company to steer clear of streaming a show with potent political opinions that might significantly affect its financial performance, “The Problem With Jon Stewart” delved into various contentious topics, such as artificial intelligence and gun control. As reported by the New York Times, insiders familiar with the situation noted that, aside from discussions about China, the show’s critique of subjects like artificial intelligence contributed to the decision to terminate it.