‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ faces continuous backlash from Spotify users


Graphic by Kayla Bugeya

Sydney Flem, Contributor

Joe Rogan, American commentator and comedian, found himself in the spotlight after the alleged spread of COVID-19 misinformation on his popular Spotify podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience.”

The controversy was brought to light when several musicians, including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, demanded their music be removed from Spotify in protest of Rogan spreading misinformation about COVID-19 on his popular podcast. As a result, 113 episodes of “The Joe Rogan Experience” were removed from Spotify, as these episodes contained insensitive language. 

Rogan later responded to the situation in a short video, where he stated, “Do I get things wrong? Absolutely, but I try to correct them.” 

Rogan claimed he is not trying to spread misinformation and will bring more balance to his show regarding topics and guest speakers.

This is not the first time the commentator has been criticized over serious allegations and controversy. As a result of the recent Spotify fiasco, a compilation video of Rogan repeatedly using the N-word over the years has surfaced on social media, drawing even more negative attention to Rogan’s platform. 

Rogan recently responded to the compilation video with another apology, stating that this situation is the most “shameful” and “regretful” thing he has ever had to speak out about publicly. 

He goes on to address his use of the N-word and said the clips were “taken out of context.” Rogan claims he has not used the slur in years, has never used the word to be racist and maintains he is not racist. 

Another video shows Rogan referring to a black neighborhood as “Planet of the Apes.” The comment was addressed in his recent apology video as well, stating “I did not, nor would I ever say that black people are apes, but it sure f**king sounded like that. And I immediately afterwards said ‘that’s a racist thing to say…I was just saying there were a lot of black people there.’”  

Celebrities have been publicly expressing their views on the matter, including English comedian Russell Brand and American actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. 

Brand released a video on his YouTube channel discussing his stance, stating the media may be out to get Rogan because of his high level of success and his willingness to be open-minded. Dwayne Johnson also showed his support for Rogan through his Twitter account. 

While most reports have remained as neutral as possible while acknowledging the prevalent racism within the videos, some Fox News journalists have come out in support of Rogan. Fox News commentator Sean Hannity insinuated the situation has become political, saying this situation is “the left’s all-out attack on Joe Rogan.” Hannity, however, continued to say no one should use the racist language shown in the viral video, but remained in support of Rogan after his apology video. 

Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek shares his thoughts on the situation, stating Spotify would like to balance creative expression with the safety of its users. 

In a letter to the Spotify staff, Ek said, “We must also believe in elevating all types of creators…I come back to centering on our mission of unlocking the potential of human creativity…That mission makes these clashes worth the effort.” 

Ek elaborates that Spotify will not be removing Joe Rogan’s podcast with the belief that cancel culture and silencing creators is a “slippery slope.”   

As the turmoil continues, Spotify’s stock prices have rapidly dropped. Whether or not this will blow over as time goes on is unknown. However, if more popular artists continue to remove themselves from Spotify’s platform in protest of Rogan’s podcast continuing, it could mean big trouble for Spotify.