Apr 2, 2024 - Business

Jon Stewart claims Apple wouldn't let him interview FTC chair on his podcast

 FTC chair Lina Khan being interviewed by Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" on Monday night.

FTC Chair Lina Khan and Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" on Monday night. Screenshot: Comedy Central/"The Daily Show"

Jon Stewart on Monday told Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan that Apple wouldn't let him interview her for a podcast.

Why it matters: The admission on "The Daily Show" comes days after the U.S. Justice Department sued Apple for abusing its monopoly position in the smartphone market. The complaint specifically calls out Apple's dominance as potentially harmful to speech.

  • "Apple's conduct extends beyond just monopoly profits and even affects the flow of speech. For example, Apple is rapidly expanding its role as a TV and movie producer and had exercised that role to control content," it notes.

Details: "I wanted to have you on a podcast and Apple asked us not to do it," "The Daily Show" host said to Khan, in reference to his former podcast that was an extension of his Apple TV+ comedy show "The Problem With Jon Stewart."

  • "They literally said 'please don't talk to her,' having nothing to do with what you do for a living. I think they just… I didn't think they cared for you is what happened," he added during his conversation with Khan.
  • "They wouldn't let us do even that dumb thing we just did in the first act on AI. Like, what is that sensitivity? Why are they so afraid to even have these conversations out in the public sphere?"

Catch up quick: Stewart returned to "The Daily Show" in February after leaving in 2015 as its executive producer and host on Monday evenings through the 2024 election cycle.

  • Stewart's Apple TV+ show ended late last year after Stewart and Apple executives parted ways over creative differences, including the comedian's desire to cover topics such as China and AI, the New York Times reported.

The big picture: Comedians and newscasters have long had to grapple with ways to cover their corporate parents.

  • John Oliver criticized AT&T when it owned HBO parent WarnerMedia.
  • ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel earlier this year called out incorrect allegations made by Aaron Rodgers on "The Pat McAfee Show" — which airs on ABC's sister network ESPN.
  • Representatives for Apple did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.
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