Spotify is standing firm in its support of Joe Rogan.
CEO Daniel Ek said in a letter to company employees over the weekend that he doesn’t believe that “silencing Joe is the answer.”
In the letter, per the Hollywood Reporter, Ek—whose net worth is estimated by Forbes to be just over $3 billion—mentioned Rogan’s use of what he called “some racially insensitive language,” as well as the recent removal of a number of podcast episodes from the platform.
“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. “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. Looking at the issue more broadly, it’s critical thinking and open debate that powers real and necessary progress.”
As readers will recall, Rogan shared a statement to Instagram on Saturday in response to the circulation of a supercut video of him saying the N-word in previous podcast episodes. “For a long time when I would bring that word up, like, if it would come up in conversation, instead of saying ‘the N-word,’ I would just say the word,” Rogan said. “I thought as long as it was in context people would understand what I was doing.”
Ek’s letter, which also sees the CEO mentioning an “incremental investment of $100 million” toward licensing and marketing for marginalized groups, is the latest development in a pushback against Spotify that previously saw Neil Young and other artists pulling work from the platform over the spread of pandemic misinformation on Rogan’s show.
As the Rogan-focused controversies have persisted, criticism has also continued to mount against the platform over royalty rates. To put that issue into perspective, consider that Rogan’s initial deal with Spotify was reported by the Wall Street Journal to be worth more than $100 million, while the current average Spotify streaming royalty payout (as pointed out by the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers) is just $.0038.
Basically, he’s saying Spotify already spent too much money on Joe to lose him as an investment so everyone else will just have to deal with his dangerous & racist behavior.