Lawmakers Want to Know Why Apple Cancelled Jon Stewart’s Show

(Bloomberg) -- US lawmakers are pressing Apple Inc. for information about its streaming show The Problem With Jon Stewart, which was reportedly canceled following disagreements over how to handle topics such as China.

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Mike Gallagher, a Republican from Wisconsin, and Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat from Illinois, sent a letter to Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook about the decision not to produce a third season of the show on Apple TV+. The lawmakers — the top Republican and Democrat on the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP — cited a New York Times report that said topics related to China and artificial intelligence caused concern among Apple executives.

“We support the ability of artists, writers, studios and streaming services alike to create content without fear of potential CCP retaliation and punishment,” the lawmakers said in the letter, which was posted online. “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.”

A representative for Cupertino, California-based Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Stewart, a veteran of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, served as host and executive producer of the Apple TV+ series, which aired from 2021 until this year. The hourlong talk show delved into issues such as globalization and the US incarceration epidemic.

Gallagher and Krishnamoorthi requested a briefing with Apple by Dec. 15 so they “can better understand the facts giving rise to the recent news reports.”

“We also anticipate speaking with representatives of Mr. Stewart,” they said in the letter.

Apple launched its TV+ platform in 2019 and has spent billions of dollars on programming. The $9.99-a-month offering is part of a broader push by the iPhone maker to generate more money from services.

--With assistance from Mackenzie Hawkins.

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