Taking a stand. Amid the controversy surrounding Spotify’s support of comedian Joe Rogan and his podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” many stars have decided to pull their content from the streaming service in protest.
Rogan has been accused of using his platform to spread misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic and the COVID-19 vaccine, from advising young listeners not to get vaccinated to sharing that he used monoclonal antibodies and the anti parasitic medicine ivermectin when he contracted the virus. During a December 2021 episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience,” the host interviewed Robert Malone, a virologist known for spreading falsehoods about the Pfizer shot. Malone has been banned from Twitter for perpetuating vaccine hesitancy.
In January, the debate over Rogan’s podcast exploded when Neil Young demanded that his music be removed from the streaming service if “The Joe Rogan Experience” was not canceled. “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,” the musician wrote in a letter to his management, per Rolling Stone. “I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines — potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them.”
Though Young was not alone in his opinion, Spotify ultimately sided with Rogan — whose podcast is reportedly the most popular on the app — and cited a desire to support “creative expression” with their content. “We know we have a critical role to play in supporting creator expression while balancing it with the safety of our users. In that role, it is important to me that we don’t take on the position of being content censor while also making sure that there are rules in place and consequences for those who violate them,” CEO Daniel Ek wrote in an open letter amid the backlash.
The platform also promised to add a content advisory to any podcast that includes a discussion about COVID-19.
Rogan, for his part, stated that he didn’t believe his interviews were spreading “dangerous misinformation,” as had been alleged. “Many of the things we thought of as ‘misinformation’ just a short while ago are now accepted as fact,” the UFC commentator said in an Instagram video on January 31. “I do not know if [my guests] were right. I’m not a doctor, I’m not a scientist … I’m interested in having interesting conversations that have differing opinions. I’m not interested in talking to people that have one perspective.”
He also noted that he was “not mad” at the three-time Grammy winner for his decision to pull his catalog. “I’m a huge Neil Young fan,” Rogan said at the time.
Following Spotify’s defense Rogan and his content, several creators have made the decision to sever ties with the streaming giant. Keep scrolling to see who has attempted to take a stand against the platform.