In a late-night message, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek addressed colleagues about Joe Rogan’s usage of the n-word and the strange removal of 70 podcast episodes earlier this week. According to the website jremissing.com, there are currently 113 episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience that have been erased.
“Not only are some of Joe Rogan’s statements extremely painful, but I want to be clear that they do not represent the principles of our firm,” Ek says in the message seen by The Verge. “I understand that this scenario has left many of you exhausted, frustrated, and unheard.”
Spotify contacted with Rogan and his crew about “some of the content in his show, including his history of using some racially offensive words,” according to him. ” Rogan “chose to delete a number of episodes off Spotify” as a result of these conversations “and his own reflections,” according to Ek.
Ek further claims that, while he “seriously rejects” Rogan’s statements, “silencing Joe is not the answer.”
“We should draw clear limits around content and respond when they are violated,” he adds, “but muting voices is a dangerous slope.” “Taking the matter more broadly, critical thought and free discussion are the engines that drive true and required improvement.”
He reiterates that Spotify is a platform, not a publisher, but concedes that its license deal with Rogan may lead some workers and others to feel differently. (Ek made a similar statement last week at a corporate town hall.)
Then Ek claims he’ll spend $100 million licensing, creating, and promoting music and other audio material by producers from historically excluded communities — the same amount he reportedly spent to exclusively distribute Rogan’s program. He also stated that the firm is increasing the amount of outside experts it contacts on how to strike a balance between user safety and “creative expression,” and that additional information would be released soon.
Rogan apologized for using the n-word and making a racist joke in which he equated living in a neighborhood with a lot of Black people to being in Planet of the Apes.
In response to Neil Young’s removal of his music from Spotify in protest of Rogan’s skepticism about COVID-19 vaccinations, Spotify promised to add explanatory labels on any podcast material that mentions COVID, but otherwise said that it is simply a platform and will not take any more action.