Resurfaced Joe Rogan footage, shared by musician India Arie, shows the podcaster using the N-word multiple times.
On Tuesday (1 February), the Grammy-winning singer said she was removing her music from Spotify because of Rogan’s “language around race”.
She branded the podcaster “problematic”, saying that she came to her decision as she felt she should “walk” through a door “opened” by Neil Young.
The week before, Young asked that his music be removed from the platform due to his affiliation with Rogan, whom he said had spread “false information” regarding Covid-19 vaccines.
Elaborating upon her reasoning for asking her music to be withdrawn from the platform, “Brown Skin” singer Arie wrote in a statement: “I believe in freedom of speech. However, I find Joe Rogan problematic for reasons OTHER than his Covid interviews…FOR ME ITS ALSO HIS language around race.”
At the time, she didn’t specifically mention what she was referring to, but she has now told her followers that she’d like to clarify her stance. On Instagram, she then posted an edited reel of YouTube clips that show Rogan using the racial slur 22 times.
Another clip shared by Arie shows Rogan telling a racist story that culminates with him comparing Black people to characters in the film Planet of the Apes.
Rogan has since posted a video on Instagram offering his “sincerest apologies” for using the slur. He also attempted to explain his reasoning for doing so.
Arie questioned Spotify’s policy of paying musicians minimal money for hosting their music, and then deciding to use their revenue to pay Rogan millions for his podcast, which is titled The Joe Rogan Experience.
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“Spotify is built on the back of the music streaming, so they take this money and pay him $100m and pay us .003 per cent – just take me off!” Arie said.
She added: “In no uncertain terms where I stand on this is he shouldn’t even be uttering the word. Don’t even say it – under any context.”
Arie questioned why Rogan, whom she described as a “person who is offensive to a lot of people”, is paid so much money by Spotify.
“You take this money that you generate and you use it to invest in this guy? Do what you want – but take me off. Or pay me too. I don’t just mean me – I mean us; artists like us, too. Pay podcasters of colour, too.”
Other musicians to have asked for their music to be removed from Spotify in the wake of Young’s protest include Joni Mitchell, Nils Lofgren and Young’s former bandmate Graham Nash.
In a lengthy video posted to Instagram on Monday (31 January), Rogan addressed the controversy, telling his followers that he thinks “a lot of people had a distorted perception of what I do”.
“[My] podcast has been accused of spreading dangerous misinformation, specifically about two episodes,” he said.
He continued: “I’m not trying to promote misinformation. I’m not trying to be controversial. I’ve never tried to do anything with this podcast other than just talk to people and have interesting conversations.”
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who have a reported deal with Spotify that’s worth £18m, released a statement on Sunday (30 January), in which they said they have spoken to the music platform’s bosses about their concerns regarding “disinformation”.
The couple said they hope the platform makes changes “to help address this public health crisis.”
Following the statement, a January 2020 clip showing Rogan sharing his candid views on Markle resurfaced online.