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Showtime pulls episode of Vice on Ron DeSantis

The episode explored allegations of torture at Guantanamo Bay that was reportedly witnessed by the Florida governor during his time with the U.S. Navy.

The episode explored allegations of torture at Guantanamo Bay that was reportedly witnessed by the Florida governor during his time with the U.S. Navy.

Paramount Global’s premium movie network Showtime has pulled an episode of the news magazine program Vice that focused on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his time with the U.S. Navy.

The episode, titled “The Gitmo Candidate & Chipping Away,” reportedly explored torture and other abuses at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba while DeSantis worked as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) officer with the Navy. The position is comparable to that of a civil attorney.

The main story was to be fronted by investigative journalist Sebastian Walker and run on May 28. A screener version of the episode was provided to media reporters several days beforehand (The Desk routinely accepts screener episodes of various shows, but was not offered one in this case), suggesting Showtime and Vice were expected to air the program on that day.

But a repeat episode aired on May 28 instead, and there was no official explanation as to why the program on DeSantis and what he may or may not have seen at Guantánamo Bay was pulled. Representatives from Showtime have declined to comment, citing an internal policy that prohibits discussing of scheduling decisions with the public.

The episode was not pulled due to a technical or legal issue, according to a source at Vice who spoke with The Desk on background, who declined to provide additional information. A spokesperson for the media brand said programming changes aren’t unusual, and that “we are very much still in discussion about the scheduling of this episode.”

“We are proud of our reporting and of our continuing partnership with Showtime,” the Vice spokesperson affirmed.

Vice first launched a decade ago as a weekly program on rival multiplex network HBO. The show moved to Showtime in 2019.

Last month, the parent company of Vice filed for bankruptcy protection in an effort to restructure some of its debt ahead of a potential sale. Around the time of the filing, a consortium comprised of Soros Fund Management, Monroe Capital and others agreed to purchase Vice Media for $225 million.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).