Trevor Noah’s ties to Microsoft under scrutiny after his glowing endorsements

Former “The Daily Show” host Trever Noah’s professed love of Microsoft could be a conflict of interest, The Post has learned.

The comedian has gushed over Microsoft products like the company’s tablet-laptop combo, the Surface Pro X, calling it “essential” in a 2019 interview with GQ.

However, he hasn’t always disclosed the fact he has been working for the company since 2016.

Trevor Noah, who previously hosted “The Daily Show,” interviewed Microsoft executives like Brad Smith on the popular comedy program. Microsoft

The Federal Trade Commission, which declined to comment, has recently ramped up actions against influencers and celebrities who fail to disclose a monetary relationship with products they endorse.

“Such connection [business, family, or personal relationship] must be disclosed clearly and conspicuously,” an FTC rule reads.

“If you do an endorsement in a way that isn’t immediately obvious it’s paid … that violates the spirit and letter of the law,” Adam Candeub, a law professor at Michigan State University and senior fellow at the DC-based Center of Renewing America, told The Post.

Trevor Noah landed the first big interview with Open AI CEO Sam Altman after he was briefly ousted, then reinstated days later by ChatGPT’s parent company, in which Microsoft has a huge stake. Getty Images

On top of that, Noah, 40, has hosted glowing interviews with Microsoft executive including CEO Satya Nadella (2017) and president Brad Smith (2019) on “The Daily Show,” which he left in 2022. That same year, he also interviewed Smith on his Spotify podcast, “What Now?”

Noah most recently interviewed Smith on his podcast last month, gushingly calling him “not just the vice chair and president of Microsoft, but a thinker. I really appreciate you as a deep thinker.”

“It’s the way big tech exerts influence … they have a fancy way of buying endorsements,” Candeub added.

Noah has also conducted glowing interviews with Microsoft executive Brad Smith on his Spotify podcast, “What Now?” Microsoft

Noah landed the first big interview with Open AI CEO Sam Altman in December 2023, after Altman was briefly ousted, then reinstated days later by ChatGPT’s parent company — in which Microsoft has a 49% stake.

The comedian told Altman on his podcast: “I think calling you the Steve Jobs of this generation is unfair. In my opinion, I think you’re the Prometheus of this generation,” referring to the Greek god credited with giving humanity civilization.  

Noah — who did not respond to The Post’s requests for comment — also conducted glowing interviews on “The Daily Show” with Smith in 2019 and Nadella in 2017, as well as including multiple Microsoft products he “can’t live without” in the 2019 GQ article.

Trevor Noah slammed Microsoft chatbot Tay in a damning segment highlighting its failures. Microsoft

It is unclear if GQ knew Noah was on the tech giant’s payroll at the time and the magazine did not respond to requests for comment.

Microsoft hired Noah after he hosted a damning segment ridiculing the company’s Tay chatbot.

Within hours of its 2016 launch, the chatbot posted sexually explicit, racist and antisemitic tweets including “Hitler was right I hate jews” and “F–K MY ROBOT P—Y DADDY I’M SUCH A BAD NAUGHTY ROBOT.” The bot also embraced conspiracy theories, posting, “Bush did 9/11.”

Satya Nadella helms Microsoft, which has been paying Noah since 2016, first as a consultant and most recently as the chief question officer. AFP via Getty Images

The bot was quickly shut down and Microsoft issued an apology, but Tay was widely mocked.

Highlighting the debacle in a “Daily Show” segment, Noah called it the “most offensive” product the company had ever unleashed.

He was then recruited by Microsoft to help with unspecified “consulting.” He started working with its product development team, according to the Hollywood Reporter, and “has applied for multiple patents” related to “multiscreen computing devices.”

It is unclear what his role entailed, but in 2022 he was given the title of “chief questions officer,” according to a press release

“As Microsoft Chief Questions Officer, Trevor uses humor, insight, and curiosity to engage with the future of AI for powering change,” the company said in a statement.

A Microsoft spokesperson told The Post that “our work with Trevor specifically excludes product promotion.” Representatives for GQ did not respond to requests for comment.

The Federal Trade Commission requires celebrities and influencers to disclose any potential conflict of interest when endorsing products. Universal Images Group via Getty Images

As part of his role, Noah announced he would host a Microsoft YouTube series, “The Prompt,” which “explores how technology like AI, cloud computing, gaming and edtech are driving social impact.”

He has hosted six episodes since its launch, with titles like “AI is sometimes the only solution” and “How is AI protecting vulnerable communities?” 

One insider familiar with Microsoft’s communications strategy called it a “smart move” to bring on a familiar TV face like Noah.

“He is a trusted source by a lot of people,” the source told The Post.

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