Alabama Republican Rep. Gary Palmer called out a TikTok lobbyist and executive during Thursday’s hearing as he grilled the platform’s CEO.
CEO Shou Zi Chew testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee amid pressure for TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, to sell the platform. As Palmer questioned Chew, he called out TikTok executive Michael Beckerman for dodging questions about China’s ongoing genocide against Uyghur Muslims.
Beckerman was confronted in December while on CNN about the genocide, with Beckerman refusing to acknowledge the Uyghur genocide and concentration camps. Beckerman also denied allegations TikTok was censoring posts about internment camps in Xinjiang.
“Let me ask you this, Michael Beckerman, who’s your vice president and head of public policy for the America’s right, is he part of the team that’s helped you prepare for this meeting, yes or no?” Palmer asked.
“Can I clarify who you mean?” Chew said.
“Yes, he is,” Chew said.
“Ok, where is he at this moment?” Palmer asked as Chew pretended to look around is confusion. “Where is Mr. Beckerman at this moment?”
“He’s probably here.” (RELATED: Rep. Rodgers Warns TikTok CEO Lying Under Oath Is A Federal Crime After Question On Tiananmen Square)
“No, you know he’s here, he’s sitting right behind you,” Palmer shot back. “I want to know why, when Mr. Beckerman was on Jake Tapper on CNN and asked repeatedly to condemn Chinese communist government’s treatment of Uyghurs, when that treatment has been classified by the United States as a genocide, when a UN report classifies it as a crime against humanity, why after multiple questions, Mr. Beckerman refused to address that? Are you afraid of the Chinese communist government?”
“Why couldn’t your vice president of public policy, the guy who’s head of public policy for the Americas, on an American television … why couldn’t he condemn that?” Palmer pressed.
“I think it’s very important to look at our platform and if you use it or open our app-”
“I’m not talking about the platform, I’m asking about your personnel now,” Palmer said before closing his argument.