Joe Rogan personally removed 113 podcast episodes from Spotify after ‘his own reflections’, CEO says

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Joe Rogan personally asked that episodes of his podcast be removed from Spotify, the company’s CEO has claimed.

The podcaster has found himself at the centre of controversy surrounding Covid-19 misinformation on The Joe Rogan Experience, with footage emerging on social media of the presenter using the N-word on his show.

Over the weekend, it was reported that 113 episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience had been quietly removed from the platform. These included episodes with far-right commentators, such as Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos.

However, in a memo shared with Spotify staff on Sunday (6 February, CEO Daniel Ek said that it had been Rogan’s personal decision “to remove a number of episodes from Spotify” following “his own reflections”.

Elsewhere in the message, which was obtained by The Verge, Ek said that while the comments were “incredibly hurtful” and “do not represent the values of this company”, he didn’t believe “silencing Joe is the answer”.

“While I strongly condemn what Joe has said and I agree with his decision to remove past episodes from our platform, I realise some will want more,” Ek wrote.

“We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but cancelling voices is a slippery slope. Looking at the issue more broadly, it’s critical thinking and open debate that powers real and necessary progress.”

Ek’s message came a day after Rogan apologised for using racial slurs on his podcast.

In an Instagram video posted on Saturday (5 February), the podcaster said: “There’s a compilation made of clips, taken out of context, of me of 12 years of conversations on my podcast. It’s all smooshed together and it looks f***ing horrible, even to me.”

“I never used it to be racist, because I’m not racist,” he further said. “But whenever you’re in a situation where you have to say ‘I’m not racist’, you’ve f***ed up. And I’ve clearly f***ed up.”