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"They're just conversations": Joe Rogan explains appeal of his under-fire show as Spotify loses billions amid COVID-19 misinformation backlash

Joe Rogan on his JRE podcast (Image via Syfy/NBCUniversal/Getty Images)
Joe Rogan on his JRE podcast (Image via Syfy/NBCUniversal/Getty Images)

On January 31, 2022, Joe Rogan posted a video in which he apologized over the recent backlash to a Joe Rogan Experience (JRE) podcast. Rogan’s past comments and the JRE guests’ recent claims on the podcast received severe allegations of propagating COVID-19 misinformation.

In the Instagram video titled “My thoughts on the latest controversy with @spotify,” Rogan commented on Neil Young and others pulling their music from the platform. He said:

"I'm very sorry that they feel that way... I've always been a Neil Young fan."

He also added:

“These podcasts are very strange because they’re just conversations. And oftentimes I have no idea what I’m going to talk about until I sit down and talk to people.”

The 54-year-old host also apologized to Spotify for the criticism they have been receiving over the JRE podcast’s inaccurate COVID-19 facts. Rogan also thanked them for supporting him amidst the controversy.


What did Joe Rogan say in his apology video over the JRE podcast’s COVID-19 controversy on Spotify?

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In a video posted on Monday, Joe Rogan stressed the spontaneous nature of his podcast. He explained that most of his conversations are in real-time and not scripted. The New Jersey native said:

“...I do my best and they’re just conversations, and I think that’s also the appeal of the show. It’s one of the things that makes it interesting.”

Joe Rogan added that he wants to showcase the entire spectrum of opinions from now on, saying:

“I want to show all kinds of opinions so we can all figure out what’s going on and not just about COVID, about everything…”
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The UFC commentator and comedian also sided with JRE’s two guests, Dr. Peter McCullough and Dr. Robert Malone, who were accused of spreading “dangerous misinformation.

Rogan clarified:

“...They have an opinion that is different from the mainstream narrative. I wanted to hear what their opinion is.”

Joe Rogan defended his guests by explaining how in the recent past, certain controversial opinions about would have been subjected to a ban on social media, but later on, those opinions became publicly accepted. To that end, he cited examples such as cloth masks’ effectiveness to prevent transmission, origin of the virus from a lab, or vaccinated people catching the virus. Rogan did not substantiate any other claims made by the two guests.

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JRE podcaster Joe Rogan also said he did not resent Neil Young, who was the first artist to leave the platform over its alleged lack of transparent misinformation policies. He also praised the legacy of both Young and Joni Mitchell, who removed their catalogs from Spotify.


JRE podcast allegations and its effect on Spotify

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Between January 26-28, Spotify's share price dropped by an average of almost 6%, which translated to a sharp decline in market value at around $2.1 billion. On January 30, 2022, the music streaming giant’s CEO, Daniel Ek, said:

“We are working to add a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about COVID-19.”

The statement also mentioned that the amended guidelines would include a strict prohibition against declaring COVID-19 or vaccination as a hoax. As per the new rules, content encouraging someone to consume bleach to cure the disease is also not allowed. The platform also mentioned that suggestions about COVID-19 vaccines causing death would not be accepted.

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Edited by Sandeep Banerjee
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