Spotify Keeps Joe Rogan on the Platform Amid Misinformation and Racial Slur Controversy

Joe Rogan's exclusive deal with Spotify is reportedly worth over $200 million. / Photo via

Joe Rogan, the American podcaster, UFC color commentator, comedian and actor is facing serious backlash over the spread of COVID-19 misinformation and racial-slur commentary. 

Spotify, which exclusively streams “The Joe Rogan Experience,” has removed around 70 Joe Rogan podcast episodes after musicians protested the music-streaming app for allowing the controversial podcaster to make derogatory racial slurs and openly spreading falsehoods about the vaccination and pandemic. 

Health experts have criticized, and corrected, Rogan for spreading inaccurate narratives about coronavirus on such a popular platform as Spotify. On Feb. 12, Rogan posted a video on Instagram issuing an apology to everyone about his previous use of racial slurs on his podcast. Rogan says it was the most regretful and shameful thing that he has ever had to talk about publicly. He admittedly agrees that, as a white male, using the slur in question comes off increasingly offensive. 

“Don’t say it, under any context,” India.Arie, a singer and songwriter, said regarding Rogan’s use of targeted slurs. “[He] shouldn’t even be uttering the word.”

Arie said that he is being “consciously” racist because he repeatedly said the word on multiple occasions. To be specific, he said the racial slur without repercussions about 20 times until recently. 

“I thought the only way to affirm my dignity and my integrity is to be honest about how I feel,” Arie said. 

Aerie, Niel Young and several others have removed their music from Spotify as a response to Spotify allowing Rogan to remain on the platform.

The CEO of Spotify, Daniel Ek, says he is not planning to officially remove Rogan from the platform because he believes that is a “slippery slope” to go down. 

“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 said. 

Ultimately, completely silencing Rogan is not the solution Ek expressed. This decision likely won’t please everyone considering there is a lot of sensitivity surrounding both racial and pandemic conversations. Spotify also announced they will add a warning to all podcast episodes discussing COVID-19 in order to encourage viewers to listen to health experts on the matter.

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