The Vice documentary titled “The Guantanamo Candidate,” which delved into allegations that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis approved force-feeding while working at Guantanamo Bay, was pulled from Showtime due to concerns over potential political consequences. The hour-long episode was set to air on May 28 and featured interviews with former detainees who claimed that DeSantis was present during force-feedings that were condemned as torture by the UN. However, both Vice and Showtime cited “scheduling conflicts” as the reason for the episode’s nonappearance. It has now been revealed that the decision to pull the documentary was made out of fear of political fallout.
Sources close to the matter revealed that Paramount-owned channel Showtime dropped the documentary over concerns about the episode’s contents. DeDe Lea, Paramount’s Washington lobbyist, had reportedly raised concerns about the allegations made in the episode. This suggests that the decision to remove the episode from the air was politically motivated.
The documentary examined claims that while DeSantis was a legal advisor to the Navy in 2006, he advised military officials on how to carry out force-feeding on prisoners who were on hunger strike. One former prisoner, Mansoor Adayfi, alleged that DeSantis watched him struggle and even smiled and laughed with other officers as he screamed in pain during the force-feeding process. Adayfi stated that the experience left deep scars on his soul.
Despite initially claiming scheduling conflicts, Vice and Showtime’s decision to pull the episode suggests that there were concerns about the potential backlash and political repercussions. This decision is in stark contrast to a 2018 interview in which DeSantis acknowledged his involvement in advising on force-feeding and laid out the rules surrounding the practice.
The allegations made in the documentary are supported by interviews with former detainees and a guard at the prison complex. Mansoor Adayfi and staff sergeant Joe Hickman both claimed to have seen DeSantis at Guantanamo Bay during a controversial hunger strike. Adayfi described DeSantis as someone who claimed to be there to help but ultimately watched as detainees were tortured.
The decision to remove the episode from the air raises questions about the influence of politics on media content. Showtime’s reluctance to comment on the scheduling decision further adds to the speculation surrounding the motivations behind pulling the documentary. It is crucial to examine the implications of political pressure on the freedom of the press and the ability to hold public figures accountable for their actions.
The controversy surrounding the documentary highlights the ongoing debate over the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and the role of government officials in approving and overseeing such practices. The allegations made by former detainees raise serious concerns about human rights abuses and the need for transparency and accountability within the justice system.
The decision to remove the episode from the air ultimately deprives the public of the opportunity to engage with important and potentially damning information about a presidential hopeful. It is essential to question the motivations behind such censorship and the potential impact on public trust in media institutions.
Regardless of the outcome of this particular case, it serves as a reminder of the importance of a free and independent press in holding those in power accountable. The public deserves access to information that sheds light on potential wrongdoing and allows for informed decision-making. The censorship of the Vice documentary raises questions about the limits placed on investigative journalism and the potential consequences for democracy and transparency.
0. “The documentary that DeSantis did not want you to see: Vice probe into claims presidential hopeful approved fo” Daily Mail, 23 Jul. 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12329015/The-documentary-DeSantis-did-not-want-Vice-pulled-probe-claims-presidential-hopeful-approved-force-feeding-torture-Guantanamo-Navy-girls-crazy-him.html
1. “Canceled Documentary Details DeSantis’ Time at Gitmo, Including Allegedly Overseeing Forced Feedings” Rolling Stone, 23 Jul. 2023, https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/desantis-guantanamo-force-feedings-canceled-documentary-1234793826/
2. “Paramount Pulled DeSantis Guantanamo Bay Doc for Political Reasons: Report” The Daily Beast, 20 Jul. 2023, https://www.thedailybeast.com/paramount-pulled-vices-desantis-guantanamo-bay-doc-for-political-reasons-report
3. “Showtime Shelved a ‘Vice’ Episode About Ron DeSantis’ Time at Guantanamo Bay out of Fear “of the Political Consequences”: Report” Decider, 20 Jul. 2023, https://decider.com/2023/07/20/showtime-shelved-vice-episode-ron-desantis-guantanamo-bay-fear-political-consequences-report
4. “Ex-Gitmo detainee said Ron DeSantis smiled at him as he was force-fed” Business Insider, 24 Jul. 2023, https://www.businessinsider.com/ex-guantanamo-bay-detainee-ron-desantis-smiled-force-fed-2023-7