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Lawmakers question Apple over cancellation of Jon Stewart's show

The tech company is being asked to provide a briefing by December 15, 2023.


A group of lawmakers from a House of Representatives committee wants Apple, like many Jon Stewart enthusiasts, to explain why its streaming arm abruptly canceled the talk show The Problem With Jon Stewart. The current affairs TV series hosted by Jon Stewart briefly made its debut on Apple TV+ in 2021 but its time on air ended when the show received the ax for a third season, reportedly due to “disagreements” over show topics.

According to Reuters, Lawmakers want to know if the show's coverage and criticism of China has anything to do with the show’s cancellation. The government officials have asked Apple to speak on the issue by December 15.

In a letter to the company, the House members wrote that while Apple has the right to determine what content it deems appropriate for its platform, “the coercive tactics of a foreign power should not be directly or indirectly influencing these determinations.” This effort is bipartisan, with members from both Republican and Democratic parties affiliated with the House of Representatives' Select Committee on Competition with the Chinese Communist Party.

Roughly 19 percent of Apple sales come from China, with over $72.5 billion in net sales reported for the company’s fiscal 2023, which closed in September. It might make sense that the company would avoid streaming a show with strong political opinions that could impact its bottom line in such a significant way. But the show discussed several hot-button topics, including artificial intelligence and gun control. According to the New York Times, sources familiar with the matter said that, beyond discussions about China, the show’s criticism of topics like artificial intelligence played a role in the decision to cut the show.