Spotify is currently contending with a public relations nightmare as its big podcast grab, The Joe Rogan Experience, and its controversial host are in hot water. With backlash coming in the form of artists leaving the service along with criticism from subscribers, the CEO of the popular streaming service apologized to his staff but added that he won’t be “silencing” Rogan.
Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify, issued an internal memo to his staff regarding Rogan, who has come under fire for hosting guests that offered opinions that many felt were harsh, off-base, and even medically dangerous. Further, Rogan has attracted the ire of many after a collage video of him firing off the “n-word” in rapid succession went wide.
Axios obtained a copy of Ek’s memo, sharing his views that he stands apart from Rogan’s words and topic matter but that he doesn’t see a need to take the platform down in its entirety.
From Spotify by way of Axios:
“I think it’s important you’re aware that we’ve had conversations with Joe and his team about some of the content in his show, including his history of using some racially insensitive language. Following these discussions and his own reflections, he chose to remove a number of episodes from Spotify. He also issued his own apology over the weekend.
“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. 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.
“Another criticism that I continue to hear from many of you is that it’s not just about The Joe Rogan Experience on Spotify; it comes down to our direct relationship with him. In last week’s Town Hall, I outlined to you that we are not the publisher of JRE. But perception due to our exclusive license implies otherwise. So I’ve been wrestling with how this perception squares with our values.
Rogan apologized to Spotify for all of the bad press he’s garnered them while adding that his platform is all about sparking conversation and differing thoughts. Rogan’s bread and butter in the podcast game are his brash takes and edgy guests, gaining him a massive following in that space which obviously led to Spotify granting him a $100 million deal for exclusive rights to air the program.
On Twitter, folks are reacting to Daniel Ek’s words regarding the issues with Joe Rogan. We’ve got those reactions below.