House lawmakers have sent a bipartisan letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook to determine whether Jon Stewart’s television show was canned over disagreements related to coverage of China.
On Wednesday, the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) penned a letter to Cook asking that he explain why the company will no longer host the show on its AppleTV+ streaming service.
The letter, signed by Chairman Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and Ranking Member Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., urged Apple to provide lawmakers with a briefing by a December 15 deadline.
The lawmakers asked Apple to explain the circumstances that led to the cancelation and make a public commitment that content that could be viewed as critical of the CCP would be allowed on the company’s platform.
“If these reports are accurate, it potentially speaks to broader concerns about indirect Chinese Communist Party (CCP) influence over the creative expression of American artists and companies on CCP-related topics. It also highlights an additional reason, beyond the traditionally-cited national security rationales, why we encourage Apple to accelerate its efforts to reduce its dependence on the [People’s Republic of China] in its core business,” the letter stated.
The committee noted that while companies have the right to determine what content is “appropriate” for their business, “coercive tactics” made by foreign powers should not “directly or indirectly” influence their decisions.
The letter also expressed concern that lesser-known comedians may have trouble finding a streaming service if they express views related to China and that the CCP has a “long track record” of punishing companies that fail to toe the party line.
It also asked that Apple work to “diversify supply chains” and reduce technological and economic dependencies on China.
Apple and Jon Stewart’s show did not return Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
Apple’s dependency on China goes back two decades. Over the years, China has spent billions on infrastructure to help create Apple’s supply chain. The rapidly growing country also accounts for nearly 20% of Apple sales.
Last month, The New York Times reported that Apple had pulled the plug on “The Problem with Jon Stewart” ahead of the release of its third season due to “creative differences.”
Stewart allegedly told members of his staff that potential show topics focusing on China and artificial intelligence were “causing concern” among Apple executives.
“As the 2024 presidential campaign begins to heat up, there was potential for further creative disagreements,” one person close to the show told The Times.
Stewart launched “The Problem” on the Apple TV+ streaming service in 2021 after hosting “The Daily Show” from 1999 to 2015.
“The Problem” was set to begin taping in November before its abrupt cancelation.
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.
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