Several lawmakers have recently called on ESPN to drop a controversial corporate sponsorship deal, citing their concern for national security. This move was a response to the network’s decision to air an ad bought and paid for by foreign adversaries. Now lawmakers have urged ESPN to exercise strong corporate responsibility and sever ties with the company.
Lawmakers are urging ESPN, the leader in sports entertainment and broadcasting to end their current sponsorship deals with TikTok over national security concerns. This move is being made as the U.S. prepares to sever ties with the popular short-video platform due to the potential for proliferation of sensitive user data and other risks. It has been a primary concern by officials that sensitive data could be used by the CCP to undermine the interests of American citizens and corporations. Private companies are going to have to make these difficult business decisions as the U.S. prepares to ban the app.
Daily Wire reports,After TikTok sponsored halftime shows during recent college football bowl games broadcast on ESPN, two members of the House are urging the network to drop the platform.
Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) sent ESPN CEO James Pitaro a letter on Monday.
The House members wrote, “The U.S. government considers TikTok a national security threat because it is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, which is subject to the direction of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).”
They added, “We are concerned that despite these widely known issues with the app, ESPN has allowed TikTok to sponsor NCAA bowl game halftime shows.”
ESPN was asked about what vetting procedures it uses when reviewing potential corporate sponsors.
Gallagher and Krishnamoorthi asked if ESPN was “aware that TikTok is, through ByteDance, effectively controlled by the CCP and that the U.S. government has determined that it is a national security threat?”
As a final challenge, lawmakers demanded that ESPN end its commercial relationship with TikTok, ByteDance, and other Chinese companies deemed national security risks by the U.S. government.
With more than 100 million users, TikTok is one of the most popular social media apps in the United States. Due to national security concerns, lawmakers are imposing more restrictions and bans.
TikTok has been banned in at least 15 states over concerns about data privacy and national security. The recent movements in New Jersey and Ohio show that states led by Republican and Democratic governors share the same anxiety.
It is encouraging to see the United States Congress taking the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) seriously as a dangerous threat. But it’s not enough; we must take additional steps, beyond regulation, to protect ourselves from their control and influence. For example, now more than ever, we must be aware of any ties created between American institutions and organizations and the CCP. This can manifest in many forms – like sponsorship of popular American sporting events – and these ties should be immediately broken depending on their nature. It’s no secret that the CCP is unafraid to use its power in an attempt to weaken its enemies, which is why we have to make sure their presence isn’t welcomed into any aspect of our country.
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