A potentially damaging Vice episode about Ron DeSantis was pulled from Showtime programming, and official mentions of it have been removed from the web.
The lost episode, titled "The Gitmo Candidate & Chipping Away," covered the Florida Governor's stint as a U.S. Navy officer at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
A damaging testimonial from a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner, Mansoor Adayfi, sheds light on the part of DeSantis's career that is now being snubbed. Adayfi spoke to Democracy Now about the brutal conditions he suffered there, while DeSantis was serving as JAG officer.
In retaliation for a hunger strike, Adayfi said, guards placed the detainees in solitary confinement and tortured them by force-feeding. Adayfi recalled how he bled and screamed from suffocation, as a group of officers spectated from the other side of the fence.
DeSantis has profusely denied his personal involvement in the force-feeding, blowing up at reporters when questioned about it. "They're just trying to get into the news," he argued. "How would they know me?"
Though he didn't actively participate, Adayfi remembered DeSantis being one of the officers who spectated as he was tortured. "He was actually laughing, looking at the other officers, and smiling," Adayfi said.
By his own admission, DeSantis may very well have encouraged the force-feeding. During his campaign for Florida Governor in 2018, DeSantis explained to CBS News how he legally advised other officers to combat the hunger strikes by force-feeding detainees. "Everything at that time was legal in one way or another," he said.
The Guardian also reported that DeSantis was involved in the heavily-disputed investigations of three suicides at Guantanamo Bay.
For his 2024 presidential campaign, DeSantis has shied away from mentions of Guantanamo. His campaign site states that his academic performance at Harvard earned him a role as JAG officer in the U.S. Navy, negating to mention when he served at the nation's most infamous prison.
Hollywood Reporter said the description of the lost Vice episode suggested that journalist Seb Walker had looked into the allegations of former detainees, like Adayfi. The episode had been replaced by May 28, only a few days after DeSantis formally filed for presidential candidacy.