Apple's cancellation of Jon Stewart's show, "The Problem with Jon Stewart," due to concerns about China and artificial intelligence raised eyebrows among lawmakers.
The leaders of the House of Representatives' Select Committee on Competition with the Chinese Communist Party wrote a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, urging an explanation for ending the show and a reduction in dependence on China.
Lawmakers expressed concerns about foreign influence, stating that decisions on content should not be swayed by coercive tactics from other nations, particularly the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Past incidents with other production companies avoiding content critical of the CCP due to fear of retaliation and the allure of China's market and financing opportunities were cited by lawmakers.
The letter requested a briefing from Apple on the decision to cancel Jon Stewart's show by December 15 and sought clarity on Tim Cook's recent trip to Beijing, raising questions about prioritizing relations with the CCP.
Lawmakers emphasized support for artistic freedom and encouraged American technology companies, including Apple, to diversify their supply chains and reduce dependence on China.
Lawmakers worried that censorship of influential figures like Jon Stewart could stifle emerging comedians addressing critical topics such as human rights and authoritarianism.
The concerns extend beyond entertainment, with lawmakers aiming to ensure that Americans are not censored due to tech giant Apple's connections with China.
To safeguard against censorship, lawmakers called on Apple to publicly commit to welcoming content critical of the CCP or China on Apple TV+ and other services.