Hundreds of scientists and medical professionals have asked Spotify to address COVID misinformation after the release of another anti-vax episode of The Joe Rogan Experience.
Rogan currently hosts Spotify’s most popular podcast, after agreeing to a $100 million deal in May 2020 to move the show to the streaming platform.
In a recent episode Rogan interviewed medical doctor Robert Malone, who stated that Americans were “hypnotised” into wearing masks and getting vaccines, and that the country suffered from “mass formation psychosis”.
Twitter suspended Malone’s account earlier this month over COVID-19 misinformation. He has also previously compared pandemic-related policies to the Holocaust.
A new open letter signed by 270 members of the science and medical community has now highlighted the episode which aired on December 31, describing Rogan’s actions as “not only objectionable and offensive, but also medically and culturally dangerous”.
“By allowing the propagation of false and societally harmful assertions, Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals,” the letter states.
“This is not only a scientific or medical concern; it is a sociological issue of devastating proportions and Spotify is responsible for allowing this activity to thrive on its platform.”
The interview has already been removed from YouTube, but Rogan and Spotify are yet to comment.
Rogan has previously been criticised for the inclusion of COVID misinformation in his show. In April 2021 he came under fire for arguing that 21-year-olds didn’t need to get the vaccine.
“If you’re like 21 years old and you say to me, ‘Should I get vaccinated?’ I’ll go no,” he said. “Are you healthy, are you a healthy person? Look, don’t do anything stupid, but you should take care of yourself.”
Last Week Tonight host John Oliver labelled Rogan a “fucking moron” in regards to his comments about young people not getting vaccinated. Oliver said on his May 2 show that fans shouldn’t listen to Rogan on the issue because it endangers others.
Rogan later clarified his comments in another podcast episode following a backlash, saying: “I am not an anti-vax person. In fact, I said I believe they are safe and I encourage many people to take them. I just said if you’re a young healthy person, you don’t need it. Their argument was you need it for other people…And yes, that makes sense.”
He added that he should not be a source of scientific advice: “I’m not a doctor, I’m a fucking moron and I’m a cage-fighting commentator who’s a dirty stand-up comedian. I’m not a respected source of information, even for me.”