Trevor Noah’s Microsoft Ties Raise Conflict of Interest Concerns

The New York Post is raising questions about Trevor Noah‘s professional relationship with Microsoft, alleging a potential conflict of interest. 

A new article suggests that Noah has a history of discussing Microsoft, including during his time as host of The Daily Show, without clearly disclosing his affiliation with the company.

In 2022, Microsoft named Noah its “Chief Questions Officer.” In a profile that year, The Hollywood Reporter noted: “Though his chief questions officer title there is new, the tech wiz has been consulting with the company for six years and, through his work with its product development team, has applied for multiple patents.” 

The Post explains that the Federal Trade Commission “has recently ramped up actions against influencers and celebrities who fail to disclose a monetary relationship with products they endorse.” However, it’s unclear what prompted the article, which does not claim Noah is specifically being investigated by the FTC. It also reports that the FTC declined to comment on the matter.

Among the instances cited by The Post are a pair of interviews Noah conducted on The Daily Show, which he hosted from 2015 to 2022. However, both interviews focused on the guests as authors.

In 2017, Noah interviewed Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on the show to discuss the executive’s book Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone. In 2019, Microsoft vice chair and president Brad Smith sat for an interview promoting his book, Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age.

The article also notes that Noah’s partnership with the company came in the wake of “a damning segment” he did on The Daily Show about Microsoft’s Tay chatbot back in 2016.

Outside of The Daily Show, Noah also interviewed Smith on his podcast, What Now? with Trevor Noah, this past May. Back in December, he interviewed OpenAI CEO Sam Altman days after the exec was removed and then reinstated at the company. Microsoft holds a 49 percent ownership stake in OpenAI.

The Post described Noah’s interviews of the Microsoft execs on The Daily Show as “glowing,” and quotes Noah as calling Altman “the Prometheus of this generation” during the podcast interview.

Also noted in the article is Noah’s appearance in a 2019 video for GQ’s “My Essentials” series, where he touted two Microsoft products among his ten “essential” items for travel. It’s unknown whether GQ knew about Noah’s work with Microsoft. (GQ did not respond to the outlet’s request for comment.)

As part of his role within Microsoft, Noah hosts an online series, The Prompt. According to a Microsoft press release from January, the series allows Noah to explore “how technology like AI, cloud computing, gaming, and edtech are driving social impact.”

Noah did not respond to The Post‘s request for comment.

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