The controversy surrounding “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast on Spotify continues as a compilation video of the host using a racial slur has gone viral, leading Spotify to remove dozens of Rogan’s podcasts from the streaming platform.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek apologized to his employees about how this situation may have impacted them, adding that he has no plans to deplatform Rogan.

  • “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,” he wrote, per CNBC.
  • “Not only are some of Joe Rogan’s comments incredibly hurtful — I want you to make clear that they do not represent the values of this company,” Ek said. “I know this situation leaves many of you feeling drained, frustrated and unheard.”
  • “While I strongly condemn what Joe has said and I agree with his decision to remove past episodes from our platform, I realize some will want more,” Ek said, per CNBC.
  • “And I want to make one point very clear — 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.”
  • Ek said the company will make a $100 million investment in “the licensing, development and marketing of music (artists and songwriters) and audio content from historically marginalized groups.”

What happened in the viral video of Rogan?

Joe Rogan took to Instagram to apologize for what he said in the viral video, which he described as “horrible” and the “most regretful and shameful thing” he’s ever had to talk about.

  • “I know that to most people there is no context where a white person is ever allowed to say that word, never mind publicly on a podcast. I agree with that now. I haven’t said it in years.”
  • He admitted that he would simply say the N-word instead of editing or censoring himself.
  • “I thought as long as it was in context, people would understand what I was doing,” Rogan said.

How the Joe Rogan controversy started

Rogan’s podcast has been under criticism after it was reported that the podcast allegedly featured COVID-19 misinformation.

  • Artists like Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren then said they would remove their content from Spotify if Rogan’s show wasn’t dropped, the Deseret News’ Art Raymond writes.
  • Spotify chose to keep Rogan’s podcast. The artists then removed their content.
  • “It is important to note that we do not have creative control over Joe Rogan’s content. We don’t approve his guests in advance, and just like any other creator, we get his content when he publishes, and then we review it, and if it violates our policies, we take the appropriate enforcement actions,” Ek said at the time, per Deseret News.

Spotify signed Rogan in 2020 to a multiyear contract worth more than $100 million. Per NBC News, this marked the streaming service’s move into creating original content to compete with Apple and Amazon.