Spotify has removed 71 episodes (one episode is split into two parts) of Joe Rogan’s podcast ‘Joe Rogan Experience’ recently bringing the total number of unavailable episodes to 113, according to JREMissing. The website tracks when episodes of the ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ were removed and shows that 71 episodes were removed in February. The reason for the same isn’t clear.
The move comes after several musicians have accused Spotify of letting Rogan spread misinformation about COVID through his podcast. Some of the removed episodes feature guests like Joey Diaz, Amy Schumer, Russell Peters, and Infowars founder Alex Jones.
Joe Rogan- Spotify Controversy: COVID ‘Misinformation’ and Use of Racial Slurs
Joe Rogan has come under fire for his use of racial slurs on his podcast even as musicians like Joni Mitchell and Neil Young announce that they’re removing their music from Spotify for giving Rogan a platform.
A singer India Arie wrote on Instagram that she has decided to pull her music from Spotify for Rogan’s ‘language around race’. She wrote, “Neil Young opened a door that I MUST walk through. I believe in freedom of speech. However, I find Joe Rogan problematic for reasons OTHER than his Covid interviews. For me its also his language around race.”
She also shared a compilation of Joe Rogan using a racial slur on his show multiple times over the past decade. India Arie also criticised Spotify for ‘paying musicians a fraction of a penny’ while giving Rogan $100 million referring to the platform’s exclusive deal with the podcaster.
Joe Rogan Apologises for Racial Slur
Rogan posted a video on Instagram to apologise for ‘the most regretful and shameful thing’ he has had to talk about publicly. Referring to the compilation, Rogan argued that the clips were taken ‘out of context’ and it looks ‘horrible, even to me.’
“I know, to most people, there is no context where a white person is ever allowed to say that word, never mind publicly on a podcast. And I agree with that now, I haven’t said it in years,” Rogan said, while adding that he believed people would understand what he was doing ‘as long as it was in context’.
Earlier, Rogan had also addressed the allegations of spreading COVID-19 misinformation. He said that he will do better research about the content he puts and include more ‘mainstream experts’ as guests.
“(I will) do my best to make sure that I’ve researched these topics — the controversial ones in particular — and have all the pertinent facts at hand before I discuss them,” Rogan said.
Musicians Continue to Remove Music from Spotify in Solidarity
In a, since deleted, open letter to his label, Neil Young demanded that his music be removed from Spotify, “I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform… They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”
Other musicians like Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren later announced that they stand by Neil Young’s decision and will also be removing their music from the platform.
Young’s former bandmate Graham Nash said in a statement, “Having heard the Covid disinformation spread by Joe Rogan on Spotify, I completely agree with and support my friend, Neil Young and I am requesting that my solo recordings be removed from the service,” according to Rolling Stone.
Writer Roxane Gay also tweeted that she has removed her podcast from Spotify, “It won't move any sort of needle but I removed my podcast from Spotify. That's all there really is to say about that. Onward.”
Spotify CEO’s Response to Joe Rogan Controversies
After Joe Rogan’s use of racial slurs surfaced on social media, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said he ‘strongly’ condemns the act but reiterated that he wants his platform to “(elevate) all types of creators.”
In a staff letter, accessed by The Hollywood Reporter, Ek wrote that Joe Rogan’s comments are ‘incredibly hurtful’ and ‘do not represent the values of this company’.
“And I want to make one point very clear – I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer. We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but canceling voices is a slippery slope,” Ek added.
Daniel Ek added that Spotify will be committing to an “incremental investment of $100 million for the licensing, development, and marketing of music (artists and songwriters) and audio content from historically marginalized groups”.
After musicians exited the platform for COVID misinformation, Daniel Ek had released a statement to inform users that the streaming service will add a content advisory to podcasts that discuss COVID-19.
Ek wrote in the statement, “Based on the feedback over the last several weeks, it’s become clear to me that we have an obligation to do more to provide balance and access to widely-accepted information from the medical and scientific communities guiding us through this unprecedented time.”
Earlier, 270 medical professionals had sent an open letter to Spotify urging it to address the misinformation being spread.