Spotify CEO Daniel Ek To Keep Joe Rogan On The Platform Amid The Podcaster's Racism Controversy
Photo Credit: Akio Kon / Michael S. Schwartz

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek To Keep Joe Rogan On The Platform Amid The Podcaster's Racism Controversy

Over the past week, Joe Rogan has been in the headlines for his use of the n-word in his podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience”.

AfroTech previously reported that India.Arie became one of the latest musicians to pull her music catalog from Spotify. Her decision came in following the resurfaced videos, as well as the platform’s negligence of the COVID-19 misinformation shared on Rogan’s podcast, which Neil Young was the first to demand action.

“Neil Young opened a door that I must walk through,” Arie wrote via Instagram. “I believe in freedom of speech. However, I find Joe Rogan problematic for reasons other than his Covid interviews. For me, it’s also his language around race.”

In the midst of the controversy around Rogan, it looks like the podcaster will continue to stay on Spotify. The platform’s CEO Daniel Ek has recently stated his condemnation for Rogan’s actions but has no plans of removing him according to The Hollywood Reporter. While Ek addressed in a letter to staff that Rogan’s “incredibly hurtful” comments have resulted in multiple of his past episodes being removed from Spotify, the podcaster will remain.

“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.”

Removal Of Joe Rogan's Episodes

According to JRE Missing, 73 out of 113 episodes of “The Joe Rogan Experience” have been removed from Spotify.

Daniel Ek's Views Of Moving Forward

Ek is standing his ground on what he believes as Spotify being a platform where people aren’t limited to what opinions they can voice.

“If we believe in having an open platform as a core value of the company, then we must also believe in elevating all types of creators, including those from underrepresented communities and a diversity of backgrounds.”

He added: “We’ve been doing a great deal of work in this area already but I think we can do even more. So I am committing to an incremental investment of $100 million for the licensing, development, and marketing of music (artists and songwriters) and audio content from historically marginalized groups.”

Ek’s failure to remove Rogan as a podcaster on Spotify will most likely lead to more public outrage and artists, as well as content creators to follow the same route as Arie and Young. Time will tell of the lasting effects the controversy will have on the trajectory of the audio streaming service.