More than 100 episodes of Joe Rogan’s “The Joe Rogan Experience” have vanished from Spotify as the company faces left-wing backlash for providing its services to Rogan.
JREMissing reported Saturday that 113 episodes of the show have been taken down, most of them late this week. Rogan reportedly made the decision to pull the episodes following conversations that he had with Spotify.
The news comes as Rogan apologized for using a racial slur in old episodes of the show that he says were taken out of context in an attempt to ruin him. Rogan says that he used the slur when quoting others instead of saying the “n-word.”
“It’s not my word to use. I am well aware of that now, but for years I used it in that manner,” Rogan said. “I never used it to be racist because I’m not racist.”
The apology and removal of episodes comes after Spotify CEO Daniel Ek reportedly told employees on Wednesday that the platform does not have editorial discretion over Joe Rogan’s #1-rated podcast. The Los Angeles Times reported that the company does not screen his guest list and only takes action after episodes are published.
At the end of January, Ek wrote a post saying that the company would publish its content policy and that it would create a coronavirus misinformation hub in response to claims that Rogan had promoted misinformation.
“We have had rules in place for many years but admittedly, we haven’t been transparent around the policies that guide our content more broadly. This, in turn, led to questions around their application to serious issues including COVID-19,” CEO Daniel Ek wrote on Sunday. “Based on the feedback over the last several weeks, 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. These issues are incredibly complex.”
Ek highlighted the following moves that Spotify will take [emphasis original]:
- Today we are publishing our long-standing Platform Rules. These policies were developed by our internal team in concert with a number of outside experts and are updated regularly to reflect the changing safety landscape. These are rules of the road to guide all of our creators—from those we work with exclusively to those whose work is shared across multiple platforms. You can now find them on our newsroom, and they’ll live permanently on the main Spotify website. They are being localized into various languages to help our users understand how Spotify assesses all content on our platform.
- We are working to add a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about COVID-19. This advisory will direct listeners to our dedicated COVID-19 Hub, a resource that provides easy access to data-driven facts, up-to-date information as shared by scientists, physicians, academics and public health authorities around the world, as well as links to trusted sources. This new effort to combat misinformation will roll out to countries around the world in the coming days. To our knowledge, this content advisory is the first of its kind by a major podcast platform.
- We will also begin testing ways to highlight our Platform Rules in our creator and publisher tools to raise awareness around what’s acceptable and help creators understand their accountability for the content they post on our platform. This is in addition to the terms that creators and publishers agree to governing their use of our services.
Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration has also pushed for social media companies to take action against Rogan as Surgeon General Vivek Murthy advocated for during a recent appearance on MSNBC.
This report has been updated to include additional information.