Jon Stewart Reveals Clash with Apple TV: "Our Aims Don't Align"

Stewart discusses creative differences during Apple TV show tenure.

by Nouman Rasool
Jon Stewart Reveals Clash with Apple TV: "Our Aims Don't Align"
© Monica Schipper/Getty Images

Jon Stewart's partnership with Apple TV on his show "The Problem With Jon Stewart" came to an end amid notable philosophical differences between the comedic veteran and the tech giant. In a candid interview with journalist Matt Belloni on the podcast "The Town," Stewart elaborated on the nuances of these differences, emphasizing that the rift was not about censorship but about conflicting corporate interests.

According to Stewart, working under a corporate umbrella is a trade-off—creative freedom in exchange for alignment with the company's broader business objectives. He reminisced about his time at Comedy Central, where similar dynamics played out, albeit with less friction.

"I get to do what I want until it's going to hurt their beer sales or whatever it is they want to sell," he explained, illustrating the underlying tensions that often exist between content creators and corporate entities.

The decisive moment came during the second season of his Apple TV show, particularly during an episode featuring economist Larry Summers. The episode, which discussed corporate profits and federal interest rates, inadvertently highlighted Apple's role in these broader economic conversations.

Stewart's forthright acknowledgement of corporate practices, including those of Apple, struck a chord with the audience, leading to an explosive reaction.

Apple's Corporate Clash

Post-episode, Apple executives expressed their concerns, questioning the inclusion of specific segments that might contradict their corporate interests.

"The show ends, and we go downstairs in full Rudy mode. The Apple executives walked into the dressing room afterwards with a look on their faces, and I was like, 'Oh my God, did the factory explode? What happened?'" Stewart recounted.

This incident crystallized the misalignment between Stewart's intention to deliver insightful content and Apple's agenda to safeguard its corporate image. Despite the end of his stint with Apple, Stewart bears no resentment towards the company.

He acknowledged the intrinsic challenge of working within the entertainment industry, which is increasingly influenced by global geopolitical issues and corporate caution. "There's a mantra we all have to remember: Corporations are pussies.

They're not looking to cause problems," Stewart remarked, critiquing the conservative nature of content companies which shy away from provocation, unlike his previous experiences at Comedy Central. Stewart has since returned to "The Daily Show" on a part-time basis, navigating the changing landscape of television and content creation with his characteristic blend of humour and critique.