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Spotify may not have wanted to become a “content censor” when it comes to Joe Rogan’s wildly popular podcast, but the streaming behemoth recently did remove one far-right podcaster for pushing bonkers COVID-19 misinformation.
Stew Peters, a right-wing shock jock known for making inflammatory and false claims, including baselessly calling the COVID-19 vaccine a “bio-weapon,” had his daily podcast removed from Spotify late last year.
“Spotify prohibits content on the platform which promotes dangerous false, or dangerous, deceptive content about COVID-19 that may cause offline harm and/or pose a direct threat to public health,” a Spotify spokesperson said when asked about The Stew Peters Show’s removal from the platform. “When content that violates this standard is identified, the appropriate enforcement action is taken.”
Unlike the traditional cast of Trump loyalists and Fox News-adjacent pundits who populate the conservative talk-radio ecosystem, Peters takes his musings to a new level, often accusing even the most pro-Trump allies of being insufficiently MAGA. Furthermore, Peters has repeatedly spread quarter-baked conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccine, at times baselessly referring to it as a “military bio-weapon” that contains metallic parasites.
In more recent days, iHeartMedia also removed a Peters-hosted podcast titled Patriotically Correct from their content library. The mass media company did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Daily Beast.
But the news of his removals from Spotify and iHeartRadio did not sit well with the rising right-wing radio star.
“iHeartRadio and Spotify have now shown the world, without shame, that they are the propaganda arm of the communist, globalist genocidal machine, hellbent on the destruction of freedom, Christianity, and truth,” Peters ranted to The Daily Beast.
Private companies taking action against his content constitutes a “shameful display of cowardice,” he further vented. “It’s a total disgrace.”
Peters’ removal from Spotify came months before the streamer’s CEO Daniel Ek responded to the controversy over Rogan’s show, which often features vaccine misinformation, including suggestions that the COVID-19 booster shot isn’t safe or effective.
In a blog post, Ek made public the company’s governing rules around content that violates their “platform rules,” and pledged to “add a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about COVID-19.” (The Verge reported on Thursday afternoon that during a tense town-hall meeting with staff, Ek further defended Spotify’s $100 million exclusivity deal with Rogan as not being the same as an “endorsement” of the views he platforms.)
On Monday, Rogan pledged in an Instagram video to “try harder to get people with differing opinions” on his show and “do my best to make sure I’ve researched these topics” before discussing them.
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