Jon Stewart: Apple ‘Did Not Want’ Interview With FTC Chair Lina Khan

"They literally said, 'Please don't talk to her,'" Stewart recalled Apple telling him while speaking with Khan on Monday.

Jon Stewart said Monday night that Apple asked him not to interview Lina Khan, chair of the Federal Trade Commission, while he was hosting a show on Apple TV+.

Stewart made the remarks while interviewing Khan on “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central, which he now hosts every Monday. Khan, a committed antitrust crusader, has turned the FTC into a much more aggressive regulator of excessive corporate consolidation.

“I got to tell you, I wanted to have you on a podcast. And Apple asked us not to do it — to have you,” Stewart told Khan. “They literally said, ‘Please don’t talk to her.’”

Stewart hosted the streaming show “The Problem with Jon Stewart” on Apple TV+ from 2021 to 2023, as well as a companion, audio-only podcast. When the show officially ended in October, The New York Times reported that the rupture was due to creative disagreements, including Apple’s concerns about segments on China and artificial intelligence.

On Monday, Stewart made light of the tech giant’s effort to stop the interview with Khan, joking that the company’s protestation had “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.”

Stewart’s “Daily Show” opening segment focused on the “false promises” of artificial intelligence, another topic he said was off limits on Apple TV+.

“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?” he asked Khan.

Khan characterized it as a cautionary tale about the dangers of “what happens when you concentrate so much power and so much decision-making in a small number of companies.”

“Going back all the way to the founding, there was a recognition that the same way that you need the Constitution to create checks and balances in our political sphere, you also needed the antitrust and anti-monopoly laws to safeguard against concentration of economic power, because you don’t want an autocrat of trade in the same way you don’t want a monarch,” she added.

HuffPost reached out to Apple for a response to Stewart’s claims but did not immediately receive a response.

Khan is one of several antitrust regulators in the Biden administration who are spooking Apple and other major tech companies. In late March, Jonathan Kanter, head of the Department of Justice’s antitrust division, announced that the DOJ was suing Apple for monopolizing the smartphone market with anti-competitive practices.

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