Jon Stewart opens up about Apple interference in his show

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV

After originally claims that his split with Apple TV+ was amicable, Jon Stewart has now revealed that the company blocked topics and even guests he wanted to cover on "The Problem with Jon Stewart."

Jon Stewart with salt-and-pepper hair, wearing a suit and tie, looking off to the side, with a pensive expression, indoor setting.
Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" (Source: Comedy Central video)



Jon Stewart said very little when Apple TV+ cancelled "The Problem with Jon Stewart" in October 2023, and it wasn't until February 2024 that he mentioned anything. At that point, he said the show had been dropped in part because Apple "didn't want me to say things that might get me in trouble."

Now he has called out Apple for specifically blocking two elements that he had wanted to do on his series and on its companion podcast. He did so while interviewing FTC chair Lina Khan on The Daily Show on Comedy Central, in an episode that began with a skit about AI.

"I wanted to have you on a podcast and Apple asked us not to do it," he told her. "They literally said, 'Please don't talk to her.'"



"They wouldn't let us do even that dumb thing we just did in the first act on AI," he continued. "Like, what is that sensitivity? Why are they so afraid to even have these conversations out in the public sphere?"

His question came in an interview with Khan about the FTC and its role in combating anti-trust measures by large corporations working either alone or in concert. "I think it just shows the danger of what happens when you concentrate so much power and so much decision making in a small number of companies," she said.

At the time of cancellation, it had been rumored that AI and China were the topics that Apple had been concerned about. While Apple did not confirm, the rumors led to a led to a House of Representatives Select Committee on Competition with the Chinese Communist Party demanding Apple to justify the cancellation.

Five months on, it's still not clear whether Apple responded to the demand.



Read on AppleInsider

«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    Michae1Michae1 Posts: 17member
    I was such a big fan of his, but it’s sad to see what he’s become. I feel like he got starred for attention during his absence and now just saying/doing anything to get in a spotlight.
    timpetuswatto_cobrajohntchance
  • Reply 2 of 31
    michelb76michelb76 Posts: 618member
    Apple is known to try to be neutral on a lof of things, while being decidedly not neutral on other stuff. It's confusing to be honest. I guess it's all to protect business interests, which makes it all the more inconsistent. I'm guessing they need Apple TV to be as politically bland as possible.
    robin huberwatto_cobrabala1234JaiOh81grandact73
  • Reply 3 of 31
    The company that funds the show having a say in the material is nothing new. That dynamic has been around since the beginning of media. Stewart himself has been known to adhere to the principles of both-siderism when it comes to political topics which isn’t exactly the most honest way of presenting information.
    jeffharrisrobin huberwatto_cobraStrangeDaysmichelb76
  • Reply 4 of 31
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,642member
    Don’t bite the hand that feeds you  AKA don’t make fun or pick  on your sponsors or benefactors.   

    They hate that.   
    timpetuswatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 31
    mjpbuymjpbuy Posts: 18member
    but if you hire someone like Jon Stewart, you know that its part of his show to make fun... so Apple hiring him and then backing out is just a bit silly
    kingofsomewherehotjeffharrisgatorguyJWKennybaconstangsphericJaiOh81grandact73
  • Reply 6 of 31
    RDWTXRDWTX Posts: 7member
    Michae1 said:
    I was such a big fan of his, but it’s sad to see what he’s become. I feel like he got starred for attention during his absence and now just saying/doing anything to get in a spotlight.
    So, what did he say that wasn't true?
    baconstangsphericmichelb76bala1234JaiOh81krushergrandact73
  • Reply 7 of 31
    cabassicabassi Posts: 28member
    RDWTX said:
    Michae1 said:
    I was such a big fan of his, but it’s sad to see what he’s become. I feel like he got starred for attention during his absence and now just saying/doing anything to get in a spotlight.
    So, what did he say that wasn't true?
    Nothing. Watch his bit on AI that just came out. It's spot on. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20TAkcy3aBY

    And of course, now that we know Apple is prepping a big AI push, it's clear why they didn't want him (or anyone) saying anything remotely negative about AI. 

    Stewart is as good as ever. I'm an Apple fan and have been for decades. I even used to work at Apple. But I never want to get to the point where I immediately write off anyone who questions Apple (or in this case, a technology that Apple happens to be working on). That seems unhealthy.
    dewmegatorguyOferkurai_kageJWKennybaconstangblurpbleepbloopsphericmichelb76bala1234
  • Reply 8 of 31
    RDWTX said:
    Michae1 said:
    I was such a big fan of his, but it’s sad to see what he’s become. I feel like he got starred for attention during his absence and now just saying/doing anything to get in a spotlight.
    So, what did he say that wasn't true?
    What's the connection between antitrust issues and Apple not wanting him to do shows about AI or China? Answer: nothing. None of that has anything to do with what the FTC should be concerned with. FTC is supposed to focus on fraud, deception and unfair business practices. Stewart not getting to cover every topic that he wanted to on his show isn't an example of any of those. 
    edited April 2 dewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 31
    teejay2012teejay2012 Posts: 367member
    Did his contract have a clause that he was free to do any topic or was there a clause that Apple could review and block certain topics or guests? I suspect the latter. If so, case closed.
    timpetuswatto_cobrajohntchance
  • Reply 10 of 31
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,661member
    With a content provider leaning into the political side of things, the employer should know what they are getting into and set the red lines at the outset if they feel the need to. Then the content provider can decide to take it or leave it.

    That seems reasonable but if things changed once the boat had left port then that does not look good. If someone was interfering occasionally, that is bad, trying to micromanage content decisions on the go, is much worse. 

    Political content of any kind should be allowed to 'breathe' and swing in any direction and let common sense prevail over things getting too toxic. 

    That means being able to laugh at yourself and take the rough with the smooth. It also means you might see your own customers or political allies getting their feathers ruffled too. 

    If the guy was signed and given free reign over what to tackle and how, then that was a courageous move. If he was signed and given limits but decided he did not want to be subject to them any longer, that's fine. 

    If someone (either side) tried to move the goalposts along the way, that's very questionable. 

    There have been a couple of known occasions where producers for Apple have spoken out about the control element within Apple. I'm inclined to believe that it's real and have no issues with it as long as restrictions are made clear to the creators from the get go. 

    Doing things the other way around is where I would have issues. 

    I doubt we'll ever see the other side of this story. 



    kurai_kageblurpbleepbloopspheric
  • Reply 11 of 31
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,356member
    Jon Stewart is a comedian and entertainer who obviously has opinions about many current topics. You could argue that much of what he does is op-ed presented with a comedic flair, like Stephen Colbert, but much like Steve he is definitely informed, has earned integrity, and not simply regurgitating propaganda fed to him by his handlers. What he says is definitely going to tickle your brain to consider different ways of looking at things that are being blasted in your face by everyone and his brother. I appreciate listening to anyone who has an original, factual, and logical way of looking at the world, whether I agree with them or not. You always get to decide how to process information for yourself, but don’t forget to exercise your empathy process. Of course a lot of what you hear presented as news, journalism, or statements of fact is truly BS, i.e., spoken/written spam and human brain targeted malware.

    The big caveat of course is that when you sign-up to work for someone else, and especially when you’re opinions could be misconstrued as being the opinions of the organization you work for, you are putting yourself on a slippery slope. Some organizations are more sensitive than others and go out of their way to delineate a line between individual opinions versus the opinions of the organization, to the point of communicating that separation explicitly.

    Apple is apparently extremely sensitive when it comes to how they are presented in public forums. Some of this may based on insecurity but some of it also based on the fact that no matter what they do with the best intentions of their customers and shareholders there are always those who delight in trying to put a negative spin on everything Apple does. You know, if you can’t beat Apple in the marketplace, try to cut them down to size in the media or in courtrooms. It’s a lot cheaper than R&D.

    Personally, I would prefer that Apple take the prior approach when signing up someone like Jon Stewart. Let him do his thing but make it very clear that Jon’s opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of his sponsor. You’re taking on a little bit of bad but you’re also getting back a lot of good when the person involved has integrity and is respected by viewers. However, him coming out and “revealing” details of his departure from Apple TV+ does tarnish his shine a little bit in my mind because it seems vindictive and self serving. In these situations everyone it going to take a hit, but hopefully they’ll learn from it. Apple needs to be more confident about its public portrayal and Jon needs to maintain a higher level of professionalism and respect for those he serves, even if for a short period of time. My opinion of course.
    edited April 2 jeffharrisjibgatorguyrobin huberkurai_kagetobian
  • Reply 12 of 31
    chelinchelin Posts: 107member
    The company that funds the show having a say in the material is nothing new. That dynamic has been around since the beginning of media. Stewart himself has been known to adhere to the principles of both-siderism when it comes to political topics which isn’t exactly the most honest way of presenting information.
    To be compared with HBOs Last week tonight… where neither ATT nor HBO have control of the content
    gatorguy
  • Reply 13 of 31
    charlesncharlesn Posts: 832member
    chelin said:
    The company that funds the show having a say in the material is nothing new. That dynamic has been around since the beginning of media. Stewart himself has been known to adhere to the principles of both-siderism when it comes to political topics which isn’t exactly the most honest way of presenting information.
    To be compared with HBOs Last week tonight… where neither ATT nor HBO have control of the content
    WBD has been Oliver's corporate daddy the last two years, but he has been as blisteringly critical of it as he had been of his prior corporate daddy, ATT. Apple's attempted control of Stewart--which begs the question of WHY would you ever hire Jon Stewart if you wanted a puppet as a host--really exposes Apple's beliefs--contrary to its liberal image--about free speech when it conflicts, even theoretically, with its business interests. It's going to pick its business interests every time. It has been doing so in China for a long time and we now see it here with the cancellation of Jon's show.  
    gatorguyblastdoorblurpbleepbloopbaconstang
  • Reply 14 of 31
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,276member
    I wonder if apple filters out stories they don’t like from Apple News, too…
  • Reply 15 of 31
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,211member
    blastdoor said:
    I wonder if apple filters out stories they don’t like from Apple News, too…
    Have you seen any EU or US vs. Apple antitrust news on the service? How about the recent consumer class actions targeting the company, again pretty widely reported? Or any stories of possible sagging Apple sales in China? I can't say that I have, but I could have missed them.  That would give you a probable answer whether Apple is controlling, aka censoring, the message on Apple News. I don't really know. 
    bala1234
  • Reply 16 of 31
    charles1charles1 Posts: 78member
    BREAKING NEWS: CRANKY OLD GUY YELLS AT THOSE DAMN KIDS

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 31
    eriamjh said:
    Don’t bite the hand that feeds you  AKA don’t make fun or pick  on your sponsors or benefactors.   

    They hate that.   
    That only applies to servile people which Stewart is not.
    blurpbleepbloopbaconstangbala1234
  • Reply 18 of 31
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,808member
    blastdoor said:
    I wonder if apple filters out stories they don’t like from Apple News, too…
    Of course they don't...it's not Google. This is one of the advantages of Apple News. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 31
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 614member
    This is a great way to guarantee no one will hire you and the only broadcasting you will do is a podcast from your basement. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 31
    eriamjh said:
    Don’t bite the hand that feeds you  AKA don’t make fun or pick  on your sponsors or benefactors.   

    They hate that.   
    That only applies to servile people which Stewart is not.

    He's servile to no one because when push comes to shove, he claims to be "no one" himself.  Which is complete cowardice.
    watto_cobra
Sign In or Register to comment.