Spotify: CEO Defends US Star Joe Rogan’s Keeping Online

STOCKHOLM | Despite a fierce controversy, the CEO of Spotify defended the maintenance on the platform of American podcast star Joe Rogan, while “condemning” some of his “harmful” remarks, in an email to his employees which AFP obtained copy Monday.

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The Swedish founder of the world’s number one audio streaming service, Daniel Ek, also confirms that several episodes of Joe Rogan were removed from the platform this weekend, in particular for inappropriate racial comments.

“While I strongly condemn what Joe said and endorse his decision to remove episodes from our platform, I realize some want more. And I want to say one thing very clearly: I don’t believe that silencing Joe is the answer,” says the founder of the world’s number one audio streaming service, Daniel Ek.

“We should have clear lines on our content and act when they are crossed, but erasing voices is a slippery slope,” pleads the Swedish billionaire in his missive sent on Sunday and transmitted to AFP by a spokesperson for the group.

Following “discussions” with Spotify and “his own reflection”, Joe Rogan – bound to the Swedish platform by an exclusive contract estimated at 100 million dollars – “chosen to withdraw a certain number of episodes from Spotify,” Mr. Ek confirmed.

According to several media, it is a total of 70 shows, where Joe Rogan uses the insult “nigger”.

On Saturday, the creator of ‘The Joe Rogan experience’ podcast had apologized for the racist remarks, offering his ‘humble and sincere apologies’ for ‘the thing that I have the most shame and regret about speaking in public. »

“I never used (that word) to be racist, because I’m not racist,” he said.

A controversial episode on the Covid-19, which had earned Spotify to be accused by folk-rock star Neil Young of not reacting to misinformation, has remained online.

In the wake of Neil Young, several famous artists have pulled out of Spotify or threatened to do so in recent days, while a #DeleteSpotify boycott movement has emerged online.

In an attempt to put out the fire, the Swedish platform announced last Sunday that it would take measures to combat misinformation, in particular by adding links to verified information to podcasts devoted to Covid-19.

Joe Rogan is notably accused of having discouraged vaccination among young people and of having pushed for the use of an unauthorized treatment, ivermectin, against the coronavirus.

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