Spotify boss Daniel Ek has sent a letter to company staff saying he “strongly condemns” Joe Rogan’s use of racial slurs, but that removing his podcast is “not the answer”.
It comes after the streaming service reportedly removed 70 episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience that see the comedian using racist slurs.
Last week (February 4) India.Aria shared a compilation of clips that featured Rogan using the N-word repeatedly and describing a Black neighbourhood as being similar to the Planet Of The Apes movie.
Rogan has since apologised, telling his Instagram followers. “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 wrote in the caption for the 6-minute video.
He started by saying this was “the most regretful and shameful thing I’ve had to talk about publicly,” before going on to say the compilation shared by India.Aria is made of clips “taken out of context of twelve years of conversations on my podcast.”
“I know to most people, there’s no context in which a white person is ever allowed to say that word and I agree with that now. I haven’t said it in years.”
In it, he says: “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.
“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.” Read the full note here.
On Thursday (February 3), Ek said it was “too early to know” what impact the row surrounding Rogan’s podcast would have on the company’s future. Since the controversy began, Spotify’s shares have fallen by more than 10 per cent and, on January 30, it was reported that the platform had lost more than $2billion (£1.5bn) in market value.
“Usually when we’ve had controversies in the past, those are measured in months, not days,” Ek told Spotify’s investors. “We don’t change our policies based on one creator, nor do we change based on any media cycle or calls from anyone else.”