According to Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek, the company will stand by podcast host Joe Rogan following an n-word controversy and has made a $100 million investment in ‘historically marginalized groups.’
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After Rogan apologized for using racial slurs on his platform in the past, Ek published a memo to staff condemning Rogan’s comments and confirming that 113 episodes from the podcast were removed from its site following the apology.
But Ek insisted that ‘silencing’ Rogan wasn’t the solution.
‘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 wrote. ‘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.’
In a resurfaced collection of clips from his podcast, Rogan used the N-word more than 20 times (it was hosted on YouTube at the time, not Spotify).
Throughout 23 separate clips, Rogan utters the word 24 times. These clips were recorded in the months before he left YouTube for his exclusive partnership with Spotify in 2020.
Rogan said on Saturday that ‘it looks f***ing horrible. Even to me.’
According to Rogan, the slurs were the most regrettable and shameful thing he has ever dealt with, and he hasn’t used the N-word for years.
Rogan’s podcast was found to be missing 113 episodes by JRE Missing, a website that detects deleted episodes automatically.
Most of the episodes that were yanked were recorded before his recent controversy regarding COVID-19 and preventative medications. Some of the episodes had conservative commentators on such as Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Owen Benjamin, as well as Gavin McInnes.
Over the past few weeks, Rogan, 54, has come under fire from progressives and others who have pushed to cancel the JRE host’s $100 million deal with the world’s most popular streaming service over what has been called misinformation regarding the Covid-19 vaccine.
In a statement on Sunday, Ek emphasized the importance of elevating creators from historically marginalized communities and said he would invest $100 million in ‘the licensing, development, and marketing of music (artists and songwriters) and audio content from historically marginalized groups.’
‘This will dramatically increase our efforts in these areas. While some might want us to pursue a different path, I believe that more speech on more issues can be highly effective in improving the status quo and enhancing the conversation altogether.’
Aside from that, Ek apologized to his employees for the controversy the company has recently been involved in.
‘I deeply regret that you are carrying so much of this burden. I also want to be transparent in setting the expectation that in order to achieve our goal of becoming the global audio platform, these kinds of disputes will be inevitable,’ he stated. ‘For me, I come back to centering on our mission of unlocking the potential of human creativity and enabling more than a billion people to enjoy the work of what we think will be more than 50 million creators. That mission makes these clashes worth the effort.’
Last week, before the racist slurs resurfaced, Ek stood up for Rogan, saying “it is important to me that we don´t take on the position of being content censor.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, Ek took responsibility for being “too slow to respond” to criticism regarding vaccine misinformation. Young received a response from the company five days after the criticism was made.
“It´s become clear to me that we have an obligation to do more to provide balance and access to widely accepted information from the medical and scientific communities guiding us through this unprecedented time,” Ek added.
Last month, singer Neil Young requested that his music be taken off Spotify due to Spotify’s relationship with Rogan, who has been accused of spreading false information about COVID-19 and vaccines.
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On his official website, Young wrote an open letter that has since been deleted. It read, ‘Please immediately inform Spotify that I am actively canceling all my music availability on Spotify as soon as possible. I am doing this because Spotify is spreading false information about vaccines — potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them.
‘Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule,’ the statement continues. ‘I want you to let Spotify know immediately today that I want all of my music off their platform. They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.’
Last week, David Crosby & Stephen Stills joined the woke cult of aging hippies Young and English singer-songwriter Graham Nash and asked that their labels remove their songs from Spotify. Musicians who aren’t insane have opted to stand for freedom of speech and keep their music on the platform.