Spotify CEO Condemns Joe Rogan’s Racist Comments, But Says “Canceling Voices Is A Slippery Slope”
In the past few weeks, there’s been a lot of scrutiny of Spotify’s hugely expensive deal with podcaster Joe Rogan, as more and more artists have removed their music from the streaming platform. It started when Neil Young wrote an open letter, asking for his music to be removed from Spotify if the service was going to keep employing Rogan and allowing Rogan to spread vaccine misinformation. Since then, that conversation has spread to other matters. Last week, India.Arie pulled her music from Spotify, citing Rogan’s “language around race.” Over the weekend, Spotify removed over a hundred older episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience — not because of COVID stuff but because of racial slurs — while Rogan offered a video apology for the way he’s discussed race in the past. Now, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has directly addressed Rogan’s racist language.
In a recent letter sent to Spotify staff and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Daniel Ek condemns Rogan’s use of racist language: “Not only are some of Joe Rogan’s comments incredibly hurtful — I want to make clear that they do not represent the values of this company.” Ek also says that Rogan made the decision to remove those old episodes of his show.
In that letter, Ek also reaffirms that Spotify has no intention to deplatform Rogan or to cancel the company’s deal with him: “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.” And Ek promises to put money into working with different groups of creators: “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.”
You can read the full text of Ek’s letter at The Hollywood Reporter.