- Daniel Ek, Spotify’s CEO, addressed staff in a late-night letter regarding Joe Rogan’s use of the n-word and the inexplicable removal of 70 podcast episodes earlier this week.
- Not only are some of Joe Rogan’s words incredibly hurtful, but Ek also writes in an email obtained by The Verge, he wants to emphasize that they do not reflect the company’s values.
- Ek then announces a $100 million commitment — the same amount reportedly spent on the exclusive distribution of Rogan’s show — to licensing, developing, and marketing music and other audio content created by historically marginalized creators.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek addressed employees in a late-night message about Joe Rogan’s usage of the n-word and the strange removal of 70 podcast episodes earlier this week. According to jremissing.com, the total number of deleted Joe Rogan Experience episodes is currently 113.
Not only are some of Joe Rogan’s statements enormously damaging, but Ek also says in the email that he wants to make it clear that they do not reflect the company’s beliefs. He is aware that this scenario has left many of you exhausted, irritated, and voiceless. He continues by stating that Spotify spoke with Rogan and his staff about many aspects of his program, including his history of using some racially offensive words.
Rogan “chose to delete several episodes off Spotify” due to these conversations “and his reflections,” Ek claims. While he strongly condemns “Rogan’s remarks, Ek also states that he believes that silencing Joe is not the solution. He adds that they should draw clear boundaries around material and take action when those boundaries are breached, but canceling voices is a dangerous slope. He said that taking a broader view of the situation is critical thought, and free discussion catalyzes true and required improvement.
Ek reiterates his belief that Spotify is a platform, not a publisher, but concedes that workers and some may disagree, given the company’s license deal with Rogan. (Ek made a similar remark last week during a business town hall.)
Spotify’s commitment of $100 million:
Ek then announces a $100 million commitment — the same sum reportedly spent exclusively distributing Rogan’s program — to licensing, creating, and promoting music and other audio material by historically excluded producers. Additionally, he states that the company is expanding the number of outside experts it contacts on how to find a balance between user safety and “creative expression” and will reveal additional details.
Rogan apologized yesterday for using the n-word and for making a racist joke in which he equated being in a neighborhood with a high concentration of Black people to being in Planet of the Apes.
This latest Rogan controversy began when Neil Young removed his music from Spotify in protest of Rogan’s skepticism of COVID-19 vaccines; Spotify responded by promising to include informational labels on any podcast content that discusses COVID, but otherwise maintaining that it is merely a platform and will take no further action.
About Joe Rogan:
Joseph James Rogan is an American podcaster, comedian, actor, and former television presenter. He is best known for his work as a color commentator for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He is the presenter of The Joe Rogan Experience, a podcast he created in 2009 in which he interviews a range of guests about current events, politics, philosophy, humor, and hobbies.
Rogan was born in Newark, New Jersey, and began his comedic career in the Boston region in August 1988. He signed an exclusive developmental agreement with Disney in 1994 after migrating to Los Angeles and starred as an actor on various television series, including Hardball and NewsRadio. He began his career with the UFC in 1997 as an interviewer and color commentator. In 2000, he published his debut comedy special, I’m Gonna Be Dead Someday, and from 2001 to 2006, he hosted the game program Fear Factor.