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Jon Stewart claims Apple discouraged him from interviewing FTC Chair Lina Khan

The Justice Department is suing Apple over its alleged monopoly in the smartphone industry.
Jon Stewart in conversation with Federal Trade Commission Chairperson Lina Khan on "The Daily Show" on April 1, 2024.
Jon Stewart interviews Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan on "The Daily Show" on Monday.Matt Wilson / The Daily Show

"Daily Show" host Jon Stewart said Apple discouraged him from interviewing Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan while he was employed by the tech giant.

In a new interview with Khan that aired late Monday on Comedy Central, Stewart claimed Apple leaned on him to avoid talking to Khan, who took over as head of the FTC in 2021.

“I wanted to have you on a podcast, and Apple asked us not to do it," Stewart said. He continued: “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."

Stewart had a brief stint on Apple TV from 2021 to 2023 with a show called "The Problem With Jon Stewart," which had an accompanying podcast. The partnership ended over creative differences last fall. Stewart returned to Comedy Central as a part-time "Daily Show" host in February.

“Like, what is that sensitivity?" Stewart asked Monday. "Why are they so afraid to even have these conversations out in the public sphere?”

Representatives for Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Khan thanked Stewart for the interview on X on Tuesday morning.

"Thanks to @jonstewart for having me on to talk about @FTC’s work to lower the cost of asthma inhalers, the importance of holding corporate executives accountable for lawbreaking, and how monopolies can use their power to bully, coerce, and censor speech," she wrote.

While the FTC under Khan has not specifically targeted Apple, it has challenged other firms commonly grouped under the Big Tech umbrella, most recently pointing at Amazon, Google and Microsoft and their forays into artificial intelligence.?

Meanwhile, the Justice Department announced a sweeping antitrust suit last month accusing Apple of monopolizing the smartphone market.

And while she was working for a House subcommittee, Khan wrote a 449-page report calling for the breakup of large tech companies, including Apple, comparing them to Gilded Age monopolies.

Watch the full interview below:

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