- 07 Feb 22
The video shared by India.Arie has prompted new responses and actions from both Spotify and Joe Rogan.
The Spotify controversy continues after CEO Daniel Ek "strongly condemns" podcaster Joe Rogan's use of racial slurs in a letter to the company's staff.
The message comes in response to a compilation of clips shared by R&B artist India.Arie, which show Rogan repeatedly using the N-word and making racially insensitive comments on his show, The Joe Rogan Experience. Since, Rogan has apologised over social media and removed several past episodes.
“There’s been a lot of shit from the old episodes of the podcast that I wish I hadn’t said, or had said differently. This is my take on the worst of it," he captioned his six-minute instagram video.
Ek replied to the mounting controversies with a letter to the company, outlining his thoughts on the podcast, the boycott and what initiatives are in store for the streaming service.
"There are no words I can say to adequately convey how deeply sorry I am for the way The Joe Rogan Experience controversy continues to impact each of you," it begins. "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. I know this situation leaves many of you feeling drained, frustrated and unheard."
Despite swirling accusations and calls for the podcast's removal, the CEO's stance on the issue has remained unchanged.
"While I strongly condemn what Joe has said and I agree with his decision to remove past episodes from our platform, I realise some will want more. And I want to make one point very clear – I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer," he wrote. "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."
In addition to simply addressing the comments made by Rogan, Ek also announced a drive towards supporting artists from underrepresented communities. Spotify has set up an incremental investment of "$100 million for the licensing, development, and marketing of music (artists and songwriters) and audio content from historically marginalised groups," reads the statement.
The spotlight has been on Spotify since Neil Young's boycott of the platform, which drew several big name artists to remove their discographies from the site. Though the source of the controversies have been primarily Joe Rogan, since the initial protests Spotify's practices and values have been under the microscope. The conversations have prompted several reforms from the streaming-giant, and continue to bring national attention to the role of corporations in the issues of censorship and public safety.