Spotify CEO Says He Won't Deplatform Joe Rogan's Podcast Despite Condemning Rogan's Use of Racist Slurs

"I want to make one point very clear — I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer"

BY Kaelen BellPublished Feb 7, 2022

This weekend, it was reported that multiple episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience had been quietly removed from Spotify, seemingly due to Rogan and his guest's not-infrequent use of racial slurs and derogatory language

The takedowns came after criticism from artists like India.Arie, who spoke out against Rogan last week over his use of the n-word on his podcast, saying that Rogan "shouldn't even be uttering the word. Don't even say it, under any context. Don't say it." Rogan issued an apology yesterday (February 6), calling his words "regretful and shameful."

This was, of course, the second wave of Rogan backlash, resurfacing after Neil Young — and many others, including Joni Mitchell — pulled their music from Spotify in protest of Rogan's campaign of COVID disinformation. Young infamously then went ahead and directed fans to Amazon Music instead, which...isn't great. 

And now, Spotify CEO and noted music-hater Daniel Ek — who recently addressed the controversy by saying that Spotify wouldn't change its policies based on Rogan or any other individual creator — has sent an internal letter to the company's staff that both condemns Rogan's words and reaffirms that Spotify will not be removing his podcast, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter and The Verge.

"While I strongly condemn what Joe has said and I agree with his decision to remove past episodes from our platform, I realize some will want more," Ek wrote. "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 cancelling voices is a slippery slope."

Ek also mentions that Spotify will be making an investment of $100 million "for the licensing, development, and marketing of music (artists and songwriters) and audio content from historically marginalized groups" in response to the controversy. Spotify previously responded to Neil Young and other artists' boycotts by promising content advisories on all podcasts that discuss COVID-19.

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