Showtime quietly pulled an episode of its Vice newsmagazine last week — one that featured a report on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ time as a U.S. Navy lawyer serving at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba.
The episode, the fourth in Vice’s fourth season, had been slated to air May 28. Showtime pulled the episode, however, and is now referring to the June 4 installment as episode four of the season. Repeat programming aired in place of the shelved episode on May 28.
Mentions of the originally scheduled episode, titled “The Gitmo Candidate & Chipping Away,” have been scrubbed from Showtime’s website and press portal. An email sent to press on May 24 noted that a screener of the episode was available; however, on May 30, a follow-up email noted a different installment, titled “Detransitioners & Draining the DRC,” as episode four.
No reason was given as to why the episode was pulled. Showtime declined comment. The Hollywood Reporter has asked Vice Media for comment but received no reply as of publication time.
The description of the episode, as seen on cached versions of the Vice page on Showtime’s site, hinted at potentially explosive material about DeSantis, who recently entered the Republican presidential race. The episode’s description reads in part, “Seb Walker investigates allegations from former Guantanamo Bay detainees that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis witnessed acts condemned by the United Nations as torture during his past service at the controversial detention camp as a Navy JAG officer.” (The “Chipping Away” part of the episode title refers to a different report on the “high-stakes race between the U.S. and China over the production of semiconductors.”)
Vice was first launched on HBO in 2013 as a collaboration with Vice Media and was known for gonzo-style journalism, such as sending Dennis Rodman to North Korea during its first season. The docuseries won two Emmys for HBO, which went on to launch daily news show Vice News Tonight in 2016. HBO cancelled Vice in December 2018, and in 2019 Showtime picked up the show for additional seasons.
Vice News produces the series for Showtime. Beverly Chase serves as showrunner and executive producer. Craig Thomson is co-EP, and Subrata De is the senior executive producer for the series and executive vp of Vice News.
Vice Media filed for bankruptcy protection in May. At the same time, the company announced that a consortium that includes Fortress, Soros Fund Management and Monroe Capital has agreed to purchase the group for $225 million, including all assets and taking on all liabilities.