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Tag: joe rogan

Why Spotify’s Joe Rogan Implosion Keeps Getting Worse

What a way to mark Black History Month.

Turns out when Spotify’s right-wing podcast host Joe Rogan isn’t spreading lies and misinformation about a life-saving vaccine during a public health crisis, he’s been chronically using the N-word.

One week after he offered a semi-apology for trafficking in Covid lies, Rogan offered another public mea culpa regarding his regular on-air use of racist language, and for comparing a Black neighborhood to the “Planet of the Apes.” The after-the-fact apology rang hollow, since just days ago Rogan was telling his listeners Black people aren’t really Black. This, while 70 older Rogan podcasts got yanked down last week, reportedly because they contained more racist slurs.

Over the weekend, as a compilation clip of Rogan’s 20-plus N-word utterances went viral, actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson walked back his support for Rogan, whose Covid lies prompted a number of famous musicians to demand their catalogs be pulled from the music playlist platform. (Joni Mitchell: “Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives.”)

It’s the latest public relations fiasco for the audio content giant Spotify, the billion-dollar media behemoth that made a huge bet on GOP favorite Rogan, signing him to a $100 million contract despite knowing about the host’s long history of bigotry and baseless conspiracies.

Spotify’s unfolding Rogan fiasco comes as the company does deep damage to its own brand by steadfastly defending a chronic purveyor for right-wing lies and hate; a modern-day Rush Limbaugh. Rather than setting common-sense guidelines for Rogan, Spotify has opted to treat him as untouchable as he wreaks havoc on the company’s image.

Once seen as a fun, feel-good brand for music and podcasts, Spotify is now synonymous with Fox News in terms of peddling toxic content; a poster child for corporate cowardice.

“Its failure to take any meaningful responsibility, other than adding a few disclaimers, is all too reminiscent of the way Facebook, for years, has dodged accountability for spreading so many harmful lies,” noted Margaret Sullivan in the Washington Post.

In refusing to take meaningful action, Spotify is trying, and failing, to present itself as both a steward of free speech, guarding the rights of hosts to say whatever they want, while at the same time paying lip service to the idea of maintaining editorial guidelines.

Here’s the simple fact: When Spotify made Rogan a millionaire one hundred times over with a nine-figure deal to be the exclusive home of “The Joe Rogan Experience,” they knew exactly what they were getting. They knew some of Rogan’s content was so objectionable that Spotify wanted nothing to do with it.

How do we know? Because in 2020 when Spotify purchased the entire Rogan catalog of podcasts and hosted them, dozens of older episodes were deleted, featuring friendly interviews with reprehensible, far-right figures such as Sandy Hook shooting conspiracist Alex Jones, Holocaust denier Chuck C. Johnson, neo-Nazi fan Milo Yiannapoloulos, and Proud Boy founder Gavin McInnes. (Rogan dubbed his interview with the white supremacist McInnes to be “fun times.”) Those chummy chats on a national platform helped normalize their racist and deranged behavior.

At the time, Spotify agreed to silence those interviews because they were, presumably, so objectionable that the company did not want to be associated with them. The same thing happened last week when 70 episodes mysteriously vanished while Spotify was in damage control mode.

But Spotify has remained silent when Rogan and his guests have claimed, “It’s more dangerous to get vaccinated than it is to get Covid,” that you’re “more likely to get infected if you’ve had three jabs,” that Dr. Anthony Fauci “produced the pandemic,” that Biden got a fake booster shot on TV because his aides were afraid he’d die if he got a real one, and the government is monitoring everyone’s texts looking for anti-vaccine messages.

Rogan last year bragged that the company was letting him say whatever he wanted about the pandemic and the vaccine — “They’ve been amazing. Spotify has given me no pushback whatsoever.” That, despite the fact Spotify had in place a policy that “prohibits content on the platform which promotes dangerous false, deceptive, or misleading content about COVID-19 that may cause offline harm and/or pose a direct threat to public health.”

Spotify recently told the Wall Street Journal that it has taken down thousands of podcast episodes in violation of “detailed content policies” related to COVID-19. Just none of Rogan’s. He has violated those rules countless times and none of his Covid episodes have been touched. Last year, when Rogan urged people under the age 21 not to get vaccinated, Spotify somehow concluded those comments were not anti-vaccine.

Late last year, Rogan hosted Dr. Robert Malone, a world-class Covid denier and medical quack, who told Rogan’s millions of listeners that public health experts advocating for vaccines today are akin to Nazis in the 1930s. The episode got banned by YouTube, where the Joe Rogan Experience often gets uploaded, for violating the platform’s rules about trafficking in pandemic lies. For Spotify, the interview, conducted at the height of the Omicron surge which flooded hospitals with Covid patients nationwide, was deemed to be just fine.

Today, the public face of Spotify is an anti-vaccine zealot who has a long history of spouting racial slurs. Rupert Murdoch would be proud.

Reprinted with permission from Press Run

Rogan Dragged By Right-Wing Media For Racial Slur Apology

On February 5, podcast host Joe Rogan issued an apology for his past use of a racial slur. The apology came after a compilation video circulated featuring Rogan’s repeated use of the n-word. Rogan, who has a $100 million contract with Spotify, was already under intense criticism for using the platform to spread misinformation regarding COVID-19 and vaccines.

Support for Rogan tends to run high in conservative media. The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro tweeted that Rogan was “laughing” at those who called for outreach to be mitigated. YouTuber Steven Crowder called Rogan a “great guy” and defended his misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine. And Fox News host Tucker Carlson praised Rogan for being “strong” under pressure.

After Rogan apologized for repeatedly using a racial slur, however, some in the conservative media turned on him. The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh said Rogan should’ve “laughed” at his critics, adding, “Spit in their face. It’s the only way.” Commentator John Cardillo, who spreads misinformation regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, said Rogan “never should have given a millimeter” and he should “be more savage than they are.” And The Post Millennial columnist Blaire White said “The only thing Joe Rogan did wrong was apologize.”

Crowder, who has repeatedly been suspended from YouTube for misinformation and hate speech, said he was “angry” and “upset” with Rogan for issuing an apology, saying, “He caved a little bit.” Crowder went on to call it “ill-advised” and something he “strongly disagreed” with.

STEVEN CROWDER (HOST): I'm not going to lie, I was upset. I was angry -- no -- with Joe as well. And I'll explain why. I was more angry with the people who tried to -- I hate the term cancel culture -- but the people who tried to destroy his life and his livelihood. Now, Joe Rogan is bigger than them so good for him. It shouldn't affect him. I hope he understands the power that he has. Unfortunately, he's caved a little bit, and I just -- it makes it harder for everybody else.

...

Now, Joe Rogan issued an apology, with which I strongly disagree. And I'll explain to you why. I think it was very thoughtful, though, and I think the way he delivered the apology was as well delivered as an ill-advised apology like this could be delivered.

Misinformation kingpin and former Trump administration adviser Steven Bannon told Rogan to “man up” and not to “grovel” or “kowtow” to “these people.”


STEVE BANNON (HOST): Note to Joe Rogan: the more you grovel, the more episodes they'll take down. The more you grovel, the more you kowtow, the more you appease these people -- you must fight these people. You must fight the power. So man up, right? Show some resolve.

Glenn Beck, who has spread misinformation regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, told Rogan to “never apologize” to “these people.”

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Spotify Removes 70-Plus Joe Rogan Episodes — But Not Over COVID-19 Issues

Spotify has opted to remove 70 podcast episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience from the platform's archive.

While the deletion comes amid controversy Rogan has faced for his spread of misinformation on COVID-19, Consequence.net, reports that the now-deleted episodes date back to 2019 and are unrelated to what initially caused the problem.T

he discovery of the latest podcast episodes in question has opened the door to even more criticism of Rogan as they contain repeated use of the N-word. Earlier this week, soul singer India.Arie took to social media to raise awareness about the episodes as she announced she'd be pulling her music from the platform over Rogan being allowed to use the N-word in multiple podcast episodes.

"He shouldn’t even be uttering the word. Don’t even say it, under any context. Don’t say it. That’s where I stand. I have always stood there,” said Arie as she condemned Rogan’s “language around race.”

Although Spotify has taken the initiative to remove some of his podcast episodes, there are still deep concerns about him still being allowed to spread misinformation about COVID-19 with his continued use of the platform. The podcast episodes that initially sparked controversy also remain on the platform.

However, in wake of the latest controversy, Rogan has responded.

On Saturday, February 5, Rogan addressed the removal of his podcast episodes over his use of the N-word and issued a statement of apology for his remarks. “It’s a very unusual word, but it’s not my word to use,” Rogan said. “I’m well aware of that now, but for years I used it in that manner. I never used it to be racist, ’cause I’m not racist.’ But whenever you’re in a situation where you have to say ‘I’m not racist,’ you fucked up, and I clearly have fucked up.”

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Spotify Will Link Podcast Content To Covid Facts After Rogan Dispute

Stockholm (AFP) - Music streaming giant Spotify announced Sunday that it would start guiding listeners of podcasts discussing Covid-19 to more information about the pandemic, following a row that saw artist Neil Young remove his music from the platform.

The move comes after artists, spearheaded by Neil Young, earlier this week demanded the streaming service remove their music or drop podcaster Joe Rogan after a call from medical professionals to prevent Rogan from promoting "several falsehoods about Covid-19 vaccines."

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have also flagged concerns over misinformation on Spotify's platform, but reiterated their commitment to continue using it to publish their content.

"We are working to add a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about Covid-19," Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said in a statement.

"This advisory will direct listeners to our dedicated Covid-19 Hub, a resource that provides easy access to data-driven facts, up-to-date information as shared by scientists, physicians, academics and public health authorities around the world, as well as links to trusted sources," Ek said.

The "new effort to combat misinformation" would roll out in the next few days, he added.

Rogan, 54, has discouraged vaccination in young people and promoted the off-label use of the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin to treat the virus.

$100 million Deal

The podcaster, who has a $100-million (90 million euros) multi-year exclusive deal with Spotify, was kept on, and Spotify complied with Young's demand and started removing his catalogue of songs.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex raised concerns over misinformation on the platform, but said they were "committed to continuing" their lucrative content deal despite "concerns".

"We have continued to express our concerns to Spotify to ensure changes to its platform are made to help address this public health crisis," said a spokesperson for Archewell, the Duke and Duchess' organisation, in a statement.

"We look to Spotify to meet this moment and are committed to continuing our work together as it does."

Spotify voiced "regret" over Young's move but cited a need to balance "both safety for listeners and freedom for creators".

Spotify's move drew applause online from organizations including video-streaming platform Rumble, which credited the Swedish company with "defending creators" and standing "up for free speech".

But Young, 76, also garnered wide praise for taking a stand, including from the World Health Organization chief.

The musician also urged fellow artists to follow his lead, and calls for boycotts and cancelled subscriptions flourished on social media.

"Based on the feedback over the last several weeks, it's become clear to me that we have an obligation to do more to provide balance and access to widely-accepted information from the medical and scientific communities guiding us through this unprecedented time," Ek said.

In addition, Ek said the company would publish its "Platform Rules", which include guidelines for creators on what Spotify labels "dangerous" and "deceptive" content.

In recent years, online media titans including Facebook and YouTube have come under fire for allowing conspiracy theorists to spread their views.

But despite its explosive growth, podcasting has largely flown under the radar.

Joni Mitchell Announces She Will Dump Spotify Over Covid 'Lies'

Los Angeles (AFP) - Singer Joni Mitchell said Friday she was pulling her music from Spotify over "lies" on the streaming service about Covid-19, just days after fellow musical titan Neil Young did the same.

In a post on her website, the "Big Yellow Taxi" singer said she was supporting Young, who clashed with Spotify over its wildly popular "Joe Rogan Experience" podcast.

"I've decided to remove all my music from Spotify," Mitchell wrote.

"Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives.

"I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue."

Mitchell's website also carried a copy of an open letter to Spotify by medics and other scientists calling on the company to establish a misinformation policy to combat Rogan's repeated falsehoods and conspiracy theories around the coronavirus pandemic.

There was no immediate comment from Spotify.

Young, the voice behind "Heart of Gold" and "Harvest Moon," yanked his music from Spotify this week after telling the service it had to choose between him and Rogan.

He accused Spotify of "spreading fake information about vaccines -- potentially causing death" by putting out Rogan's podcast, which racks up millions of listens.

"Spotify has become the home of life threatening COVID misinformation," he wrote. "Lies being sold for money."

"I realized I could not continue to support Spotify's life threatening misinformation to the music loving public."

Young had over six million monthly listeners on the popular streaming platform. His fellow Canadian Mitchell currently has 3.7 million.

Rogan has a multi-year exclusive deal with Spotify, reportedly worth $100 million, and a massive following.

Critics say his podcast is a platform for conspiracy theories and disinformation, particularly over Covid-19.

Rogan has discouraged vaccination in young people and promoted the off-label use of the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin to treat the virus.

In a statement this week, Spotify said: "We want all the world's music and audio content to be available to Spotify users.

"With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators. We have detailed content policies in place and we've removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to Covid since the start of the pandemic."

"We regret Neil's decision to remove his music from Spotify," the service said, "but hope to welcome him back soon."

Fuming Howard Stern Calls Out Joe Rogan And Anti-Vax ‘Idiots’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Right-wing libertarian comedian/podcast host Joe Rogan recently became infected with COVID-19 after refusing to take a vaccine, and he is now crediting the drug Ivermectin with his recovery. But veteran shock jock Howard Stern is saying that Rogan should have received a COVID-19 vaccine in the first place.

Although Ivermectin is primarily used as an anti-parasitic drug for animals, conspiracy theorists have been claiming that animal-grade Ivermectin should be used to prevent or treat COVID-19. But medical experts, including immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci, have been warning that taking animal-grade Ivermectin could be dangerous; in fact, Fauci strongly advises against it. But the 54-year-old Rogan is claiming that Ivermectin was beneficial for him after he was infected with COVID-19.

Mediaite's Ken Meyer explains, "Upon his recovery, Rogan lashed out at CNN and other critics who called out his promotions of an unproven COVID remedy. This was noticed by Stern, who remarked that Rogan could have also gotten a vaccine — which Stern heralded as a 'cure' — and skipped the whole ordeal."

On his show, Stern — whose program airs on SiriusXM — told long-time co-host Robin Quivers, "I heard Joe Rogan was saying, 'What are you busting my balls (for)? I took horse dewormer, and a doctor gave it to me.' Well, a doctor would also give you a vaccine; so, why take horse-dewormer?"

Stern was vehemently critical of anti-vaxxers during the broadcast, slamming them as "idiots" who are "anti-science."

The 67-year-old shock jock told Quivers, "There's never been one that said, 'I'm so glad I refused. I'm so happy that I can't breathe. This is a wonderful way to die. It was worth it because I didn't take the vaccine.'"

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 75 percent of U.S.-based adults have been at least partially vaccinated for the COVID-19 coronavirus. Nonetheless, many U.S. hospitals are being overwhelmed by unvaccinated COVID-19 patients, and Stern obviously no patience with anti-vaxxers at this point.

"We have no time for idiots in this country anymore," Stern angrily told Quivers. "We don't want you. We want you to all, either go to the hospital, and stay home, die there with your COVID. Don't take the cure, but don't clog up our hospitals with your COVID when you finally get it. Stay home, don't bother with science, it's too late. Go fuck yourself — we just don't have time for you."

Debate Over Ivermectin Obscures Biggest Pandemic Problem

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Several national news outlets stepped on a rake over the weekend by credulously parroting an Oklahoma TV news station's apparently bogus report that the state's rural hospitals were flooded with people who overdosed while taking the veterinary form of the anti-parasite drug ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment. After the story was debunked, conversation on Twitter quickly turned to the practices of mainstream journalists, as well as to whether mocking conservatives for taking so-called "horse paste" is effective or counterproductive in getting them to take COVID-19 vaccines.

I think journalists should be much more skeptical about thinly sourced news stories and try to report them independently rather than simply accepting the accounts as true. But these debates also strike me as tangential to an issue that is more directly driving public health outcomes: Influential conservative media figures have spent much of this year assailing the effort to vaccinate Americans while falsely suggesting that COVID-19 vaccines are unsafe and ineffective, and their sabotage has been very successful in convincing Republicans not to get shots of potentially lifesaving drugs.

In this particular case, those influential conservatives have been touting ivermectin to their audiences as a COVID-19 treatment they could take instead of the vaccines, even as the relevant health agencies and the drug's manufacturer say there's no evidence that it works. Last month, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning following reports that some people had overdosed while taking the more-concentrated version of the drug intended for horses, rather than the formulation prescribed by doctors for humans.

Who's been talking up ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment? An incomplete list includes Fox hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Maria Bartiromo, Brian Kilmeade, Greg Gutfeld, and Will Cain, along with regular network guests Drs. Harvey Risch, George Fareed, and Ramin Oskoui; influential podcasters Joe Rogan and Bret Weinstein; an array of personalities on One America News Network; and PragerU founder Dennis Prager. Discussions of the drug are also rampant on social media platforms including Facebook.

Others on the right are spending their energy developing anti-anti-ivermectin positions. They may not be explicitly defending its use as a COVID-19 treatment, but they are focusing their fire on its critics.

All of these people have vastly more influence with right-wing vaccine skeptics than anyone on Twitter, in the mainstream press, or in the public health community does. The result of their commentary is a strong correlation between partisanship and interest in ivermectin, one that mirrors the correlation between partisanship and rejection of vaccination.

And the right-wing campaign against vaccination is ongoing.

Fox hosts have now turned to decrying the media's coverage of the Oklahoma ivermectin story -- while also continuing to promote the drug's use as a COVID-19 treatment.

"Ivermectin, by the way -- however it turns out, whatever you decide to do -- was developed and awarded a Nobel Prize back in 2015," Kilmeade said while guest-hosting Tucker Carlson Tonight on Tuesday. "It combats river blindness and tropical maladies. Sometimes drugs worked for different things. For some people, they chose to try it. It wasn't out there to make a mockery of."

We know what it looks like when Fox and its ilk go all-in on promoting a drug to their viewers -- it's the same 24/7 shilling that the network gave to the antimalarial medicine hydroxychloroquine last spring. But confronted with the existence of vaccines with near-miraculous effectiveness against COVID-19, they haven't done that. Instead, they've thrown up a host of objections to the vaccines and the campaign to get people to take them while instead promoting drugs like ivermectin that lack a fraction of the evidence in their favor.

It's worth contemplating the best possible way to reach unvaccinated conservatives. But we should be realistic about the potential impact even a maximally effective message might have on a group that gets information from sources within a near-seamless right-wing information bubble.

The people who are most skilled at influencing that audience don't seem to want them to get vaccinated. Until and unless right-wing media personalities decide they care as much about whether their viewers die lonely, painful deaths as they do about "critical race theory" or the availability of Dr. Seuss books, it will be an uphill fight.