Hosting the annual Hollywood awards ceremony on Sunday night, Gervais touched on Apple’s entry into streaming by praising “The Morning Show.” But he went on to lambast the company’s labor practices.
Gervais said Apple had “rolled into the TV game with a superb drama about the importance of dignity and doing the right thing, made by a company that runs sweatshops in China.”
It’s a reference to Apple’s partnership with the Chinese manufacturing company Foxconn, which assembles the iPhone. Both Apple and Foxconn have been found to have violated Chinese labor laws and used illegal student labor to build the iPhone.
Awkwardly, Apple CEO Tim Cook was sitting in the audience. The camera didn’t pan to see Cook’s expression after the “sweatshops” remark, but it did show him smiling directly beforehand in reaction to Gervais’ praise of “The Morning Show.”
Gervais then directed his barbs toward any actors who appeared in shows streaming on services run by Apple, Amazon, or Disney.
“You say you’re woke, but the companies you work for, unbelievable,” he said. “Apple, Amazon, Disney. If ISIS started a streaming service, you’d call your agent, wouldn’t you?”