April 21, 2024


Comedian Jon Stewart has just shared some very interesting information regarding the disputes he had with Apple during his tenure hosting the Apple TV+ show, The Problem with Jon Stewart.

On Monday’s edition of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, Jon Stewart – who returned to hosting the program after leaving Apple TV+ – interviewed FTC chair Lina Khan.

The sprawling interview with Khan covered numerous issues, but things got interesting when the topic came to AI. Stewart brought up the AI “arms race” between companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft and how these companies are competing to see who would become “the monopoly.” 

Stewart suddenly pivoted.

“I’ve got to tell you, I wanted to have you on a podcast,” Stewart said to Khan. “And Apple asked us not to do it.”

“They literally said, ‘Please don’t talk to her,'” Stewart continued before segueing into a joke about how he’s sure it had nothing to do with her job at the FTC.

Stewart went even further by then adding that Apple wouldn’t let his show on Apple TV+ cover the topic of AI.

“They wouldn’t let us do even that dumb thing we just did in the first act on AI,” Stewart added, referring to a comedy segment earlier in the episode about AI. “What is that sensitivity? Why are they so afraid to even have these conversations out in the public sphere?”

Khan didn’t answer those questions, focusing more on how Stewart’s experience showcases the danger of having a few companies hold so much power.

Why would Apple deny the FTC an invite?

We, of course, don’t have official word from Apple, but we have some ideas as to why the Cupertino-based tech giant wouldn’t want Stewart giving Khan a platform on its streaming network.

Before being nominated by President Joe Biden and confirmed as FTC Chair in 2021, Khan was known for her work as an academic and advocate to reign in Big Tech. Khan even produced a 400-page report for House Democrats detailing why Big Tech companies like Apple should be regulated and broken up.

Another potential reason? Apple was aware of the current administration’s investigation into the company for antitrust violations back then. The U.S.Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple over the iPhone just last month.

While specific details regarding Stewart and Apple’s relationship are new, it was reported when the comedian walked away from his Apple TV+ deal last year that content disputes heavily factored into the decision. In fact, at the time, Stewart reportedly told his staff that Apple executives specifically had a problem with episodes of the show that were in the works on topics like China and AI.


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