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Where Spotify Stands on the Joe Rogan Controversy

by Temo Kikava

Joe Rogan, an American podcaster, UFC commentator, comedian, former television presenter, and now host of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, has a licensing deal with Spotify for over $100 million. Rogan has been heavily criticized lately and has had his fair deal of “cancelation” attempts from the left over Covid-19 misinformation and recently his “n-word” controversy.

Spotify CEO Daniel Elk released a public statement echoing his contentions following the “n-word” controversy that Joe Rogan apologized for about a week ago. Joe has claimed that the viral video compilation of him was “the most regretful and shameful thing that I’ve ever had to talk about publicly” and asserted that the clips were “taken out of context.” Rogan added by saying that he “never used [the n-word] to be racist,” he acknowledged that it was “an idiotic thing to say” in the first place.

“While I strongly condemn what Joe has said and I agree with his decision to remove past episodes from our platform, I realize some will want more. And I want to make one point very clear – I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer,” Ek said. “We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but canceling voices is a slippery slope. Looking at the issue more broadly, it’s critical thinking and open debate that powers real and necessary progress.”

The Spotify CEO has been extremely vague on where he stands surrounding the controversy. Elk claims that he acknowledges what Rogan said in those videos were extremely hurtful and inconsiderate towards the black community, he even repeatedly said that Joe’s words were not a representation of Spotify's values. In other words, Elk has taken a seemingly neutral stance: he does not wish to remove Joe from his platform since that would lead to a massive loss in spotify users (although it already has), however he also wants for his company image to remain intact.

Joe has interviewed several black guests on his podcast, talking to them for hours on end; several of them have come out to support Joe on various social media platforms such as twitter. One of these people is David Goggins, an American ultramarathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist, triathlete, public speaker, and author. He is also a retired United States Navy SEAL and former United States Air Force Tactical Air Control Party member who served in the Iraq War. He holds many world records including pulling off 4,030 pull-ups in 17 hours.

In more recent news, Rumble, an online video platform, offered Rogan $100 million to take his podcast exclusively to its social video website. The offer was made by Chief Executive Chris Pavlovski, who stated that he does not believe in silencing speech. It is not apparent whether Joe decides to switch platforms, although he has received a lot of comments asking him to consider.

Edited by Temo Kikava

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