Spotify removes 70 episodes of Joe Rogan, defiant host back on air: says 'isolation doesn't work'

Spotify removes 70 episodes of Joe Rogan, defiant host back on air: says ‘isolation doesn’t work’

Joe Rogan returned to Spotify after new episodes were suspended for a week, but the streaming giant also removed 70 old episodes without explanation.

Many of the deleted podcasts featured far-right commentators or outspoken conspiracy theorists, including Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Owen Benjamin, and Canadian writer Gavin Miles McInnes.

Rogan’s “Joe Rogan Experience” show is the most popular podcast on Spotify and is central to the company’s plan to go beyond music and compete with competitors like Apple and Amazon for podcasting market share.

He returned to it in full force on Friday and mentioned the controversy he ignited before interviewing Andy Stumpf, a retired Navy SEAL and record-breaking pilot in wingsuit.

“A couple of days ago I released a video; other than that, there’s not much I can do,” Rogan said, referring to his Instagram post on Sunday in which he insisted he was “not trying to spread misinformation.”

“When you hear this from people who lose information attention — people like CNN — when they call for censorship or restricting other networks or shows, it’s like, ‘Just do better.’

Rogan, 54, said the lockdowns “don’t stop the spread” of the coronavirus before declaring the 10 p.m. curfew in Montreal “wild.”

“What will happen after 10? They’re closing restaurants and bars in parts of Canada where they barely open anymore, they were barely alive,” he explained.

“Up until that point, it was quite clear that all these lockdowns weren’t working. They don’t stop the spread.”

A recent study published by experts at Johns Hopkins University confirmed his point, finding that lockdowns and other restrictions during the first wave of the pandemic reduced COVID deaths by just 0.2 percent.

Joe Rogan returned to Spotify on Friday with a new podcast, but 70 of his previous shows have been removed.

Joe Rogan returned to Spotify on Friday with a new podcast, but 70 of his previous shows have been removed.

Spotify removes 70 episodes of Joe Rogan, defiant host back on air: says 'isolation doesn't work' Spotify removes 70 episodes of Joe Rogan, defiant host back on air: says 'isolation doesn't work' Dozens of episodes appear to have been removed from the Spotify library of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

Dozens of episodes appear to have been removed from the Spotify library of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

Rogan’s return on Friday coincided with the mysterious disappearance of about six dozen of his podcasts from the site.

Some of the episodes that were removed were filmed many years ago, four from podcasts from 2010.

Others removed from the library of more than 1700 shows include those broadcast in 2018 and had nothing to do with Rogan’s views on the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the deleted episodes are those involving guests who have proven to be the most controversial, notably conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of InfoWars.

Spotify banned Jones from appearing in content on the platform for creating “hate content,” but Rogan interviewed him anyway and uploaded the interview to Spotify, prompting a quick backlash for allowing him to spread misinformation.

Rogan’s brand often rejects “political correctness” because it criticizes the “abolition of culture,” but its comments and those of its guests have sparked accusations of transphobia and Islamophobia.

He called MMA fighter Fallon Fox a man after she made the move in 2006.

Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes once appeared on Rogan’s show, where he claimed that Muslims are innate. Rogan also defended McInnes and the Proud Boys in a number of episodes that have now been removed from Spotify.

Spotify banned Alex Jones from appearing in content on the platform for creating "hate content," but Rogan interviewed him anyway. all series removed

Spotify banned Alex Jones from appearing in content on the platform for creating “hate content,” but Rogan interviewed him anyway. all series removed

Spotify has also removed a number of episodes of Rogan with far-right figures, including Alex Jones, Gavin McInnes, as well as former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos pictured above. The famous provocative commentator attacked feminism, Islam, political correctness, and abolition culture during his brief rise to viral glory.

Spotify has also removed a number of episodes of Rogan with far-right figures, including Alex Jones, Gavin McInnes, as well as former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos pictured above. The famous provocative commentator attacked feminism, Islam, political correctness, and abolition culture during his brief rise to viral glory.

British-Canadian activist and Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes (pictured), who founded the Proud Boys months before Donald Trump's election to the presidency in 2016, was also among the episodes removed from the Spotify platform.

British-Canadian activist and Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes (pictured), who founded the Proud Boys months before Donald Trump’s election to the presidency in 2016, was also among the episodes removed from the Spotify platform.

In the photo, Chris D'Elia, a stand-up comedian who was accused of sexual harassment, was removed from the Joe Rogan Experience show.

In the photo, Chris D’Elia, a stand-up comedian who was accused of sexual harassment, was removed from the Joe Rogan Experience show.

Spotify has also removed a number of episodes of Rogan with far-right figures, including Jones and McInnes, as well as former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos.

Other episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience not available on the platform include episodes with Chris D’Elia, a stand-up comedian who has been accused of sexual harassment.

In one of the episodes with D’Eliya at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Rogan bragged about his ability to get the much-coveted COVID tests when angry fans called him. At the time, it was very difficult to get tests.

Other episodes that have been removed include episodes with Neil Brennan, a comedian known for creating Comedy Central Chappelle’s Show with Dave Chappel, Shane Smith, executive chairman of Vice Media, and Dan Savage, a writer, journalist and LGBT activist.

In May 2020, Rogan signed a major deal with Spotify that included (most of) his entire $100 million video library.

Spotify workers have threatened to strike, arguing that not including controversial episodes is not enough.

After that, Rogan issued “rare public apologies and corrections” in connection with his statement that left-wing anarchists staged arson in Oregon, the newspaper reported. Rogan made these statements during an episode with Douglas Murray.

Earlier this week, Rogan went on Instagram to apologize for comments that upset people.

Earlier this week, Rogan went on Instagram to apologize for comments that upset people.

However, the controversial podcaster returned to the streaming service on Friday with a new episode for the first time in a week.

This comes after several singers abandoned their music as part of a boycott due to Rogan’s spread of “misinformation” about COVID-19 and anti-vaccination claims, either directly or through guests he invited to his show.

The boycott was led by folk rock star Neil Young and Canadian singer Joni Mitchell, who demanded that their songs be removed from the service.

Spotify's market value fell by about $2 billion after singer Neil Young removed his music from the platform in protest at the company's decision to host the Joe Rogan Experience.

Spotify’s market value fell by about $2 billion after singer Neil Young removed his music from the platform in protest at the company’s decision to host the Joe Rogan Experience.

Singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell also asked to remove her music from Spotify.

Singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell also asked to remove her music from Spotify.

Earlier this week, Rogan went on Instagram to apologize for comments that upset people.

If I you off, I’m sorry. I’m not trying to promote misinformation. I’m not trying to argue.

“I’ve never tried to do anything with this podcast other than just talking to people and having interesting conversations.”

But the musicians, including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, left Spotify in protest at Rogan’s presence and the fact that he was still allowed to broadcast.

“I’m sorry they think so. I definitely don’t want that. I’m a fan of Neil Young. I’ve always been a fan of Neil Young,” he said.

Spotify is stuck between its $100 million flagship talent and the popular backlash against misinformation about Covid-19 on its show.

Spotify removes 70 episodes of Joe Rogan, defiant host back on air: says 'isolation doesn't work'

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek told employees that the company “wouldn’t be where it is today” if it hadn’t switched to podcasts like the one hosted by Joe Rogan.

CEO Daniel Ek told excited employees they don’t have editorial control over The Joe Rogan Experience, which draws up to 11 million listeners per episode.

Ek defended Rogan and said he would continue to stay on the platform.

“I know some of you are disappointed, angry or even offended by some of this content and the fact that it remains on our platform,” Ek said during a meeting with employees on Wednesday.

“There are a lot of things that Joe Rogan says that I strongly disagree with and find very offensive. [However,] he’s the No. 1 podcaster in the world by a wide margin,” he said.

“We don’t endorse his guests in advance, and like any other author, we receive his content when he posts and then review it, and if he violates our rules, we take appropriate enforcement action.

“Nothing goes away, but there will be opinions, ideas and beliefs with which we strongly disagree and which even anger or upset us.

“We needed to find leverage, and one of the ways we could do that was through exclusives,” he said, according to the transcript.

“Honestly, if we hadn’t made some of the choices we made, I’m sure our business wouldn’t be where it is today.

“If you want to at least try to realize our bold ambitions, it will mean having content on Spotify that many of us may not be proud to be associated with it,” he explained.

This week, Ek announced that a label with content recommendations will be added to podcasts about Covid-19, directing listeners to scientific and medical sources.

Much of the controversy stemmed from two recent episodes of the podcast in which Rogan spoke with a well-known cardiologist and an expert virologist, both of whom criticized how the U.S. is handling the pandemic.

Rogan, 54, has been critical of the U.S. government and the CDC's approach to the pandemic since late 2020, opposing vaccination mandates and vaccine skips, and warning healthy young people about the possible side effects of the vaccine.

Rogan, 54, has been critical of the U.S. government and the CDC’s approach to the pandemic since late 2020, opposing vaccination mandates and vaccine skips, and warning healthy young people about the possible side effects of the vaccine.

But Rogan has criticized the U.S. government and the CDC’s approach to the pandemic since late 2020, opposing vaccination mandates, vaccine skips and forced mask-wearing, while warning healthy young people against getting shots.

He also loudly stated the government’s reluctance to discuss any potential treatments for COVID-19 other than the vaccine, and asked why public health organizations were so quick to encourage the use of the vaccine without extolling the benefits of improving initial health.

JRE is Spotify’s top-rated show, each episode garners more than 10 million listeners, and in late 2020, the streaming service struck a deal worth more than $100 million to exclusively host its podcast.

Subcaster detractors have long denounced what they see as an “anti-vaccination” stance, accusing the podcaster of discouraging people from following government guidelines regarding COVID.

Others, meanwhile, pointed out that Rogan’s words are often taken out of context and that he simply gives people access to views and opinions, often expressed by experts who question the official version of the U.S. government. Many also argued that media attempts to discredit Rogan amounted to censorship.

Here are some of the key opinions Rogan has expressed about the pandemic — many of which have received significant support — amid a long-running debate over the comedian and his incredibly successful show.

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