Spotify condemns the racist insults of Joe Rogan’s anti-vaccine ‘podcast’, but does not cancel his program | Culture


The American broadcaster Joe Rogan, in December of last year in Las Vegas (Nevada, United States).
The American broadcaster Joe Rogan, in December of last year in Las Vegas (Nevada, United States).CARMEN MANDATE (AFP)

The video lasts 23 seconds and in it you can hear the word 27 times nigga (derogatory and offensive way of referring to African Americans in the United States) to Joe Rogan, in the eye of the hurricane since Neil Young announced that he would withdraw his catalog from Spotify if he had to continue sharing a platform with the famous American broadcaster. The drawbacks of the legendary rock composer, whose songs can no longer be heard in the company of streaming, They had nothing to do with his penchant for Rogan’s racist insult, but with his sympathy for conspiracy theories about the pandemic and unscientific anti-vaccine hoaxes.

The spread of the video, a montage made from 12 years of racist pearls, forced the founder and CEO of Spotify, Daniel Ek, to “strongly” condemn these insults on Sunday in a letter sent to his workers to which he had access the agency Reuters. Ek was reaffirmed, however, in his decision to continue harboring the podcast by Rogan, for which Spotify signed a contract of 100 million dollars (87.5 million euros).

The announcer had already apologized on Saturday, in a video addressed to his 14.5 million Instagram followers. In it, Rogan regrets having to issue that statement, the “most repentant and shameful” of her public life. “Watching it is fucking horrible, even for me.” He alleges in his discharge that “it has been a long time” since he has not said the controversial term and that the fragments correspond to conversations taken out of context, in which he referred “to the way in which other people used the ‘n-word [del cómico Richard Pryor a los personajes de Pulp Fiction]”.

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“The word that begins with the ene” is the euphemism used in this country to say nigga without saying, which in Spanish can be translated as nigga, as offensive as it is in American society for a white person to use it. Rogan also theorizes about this in the apology video, in which he explains that some of the times he used the term was to highlight the uniqueness of a word that is only “racist or toxic” when used by part of society. “Only one group of people can use it, and they can do it in many different ways. A black person might blurt it out as part of a joke, as a pet name, or in a song lyric. rap”, adds Rogan.

The announcer himself was the one who decided, as Ek clarifies in the internal memorandum, to remove several old episodes of the The Joe Rogan Experience podcast with those problematic references. She did so after having “conversations with Spotify executives.” “While I strongly condemn what Joe has said… I want to make one point very clear: I don’t think silencing him is the answer,” Ek defends in the text.

The CEO of the Swedish company reaffirmed his ideas on how content moderation policies should be applied (there must be limits, he believes, and act accordingly when they are crossed), but at the same time he considered it dangerous to eliminate programs. Rogan signed for Spotify in 2020, with the pandemic already underway. It is one of the company’s big bets to compete in the booming audio business.

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Young’s decision not to share a virtual room with the announcer has put Spotify in a bind. Various musicians and other public figures have withdrawn their catalogs and proposed various forms of boycotting the service of streaming. The Canadian rocker said goodbye with this phrase: “I hope other artists do the same and leave Spotify.” A classmate, Joni Mitchell (Alberta, Canada, 78 years old), followed him. “Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing lives. All my support and solidarity with Neil Young and the scientific and medical community, ”said the venerable singer-songwriter after removing the songs from her.

Guitarist Nils Lofgren and David Crosby, Graham Nash and Stephen Stills, who in the late 1960s were Young’s bandmates in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, joined later. This crisis has also served to highlight once again the meager income that musicians earn from playing their songs on Spotify.

Among the critics with pedigree who have stepped forward in these weeks, Prince Henry of England and his wife, Meghan Markle, stand out, who publicly expressed their “concern” that the platform fueled pandemic hoaxes. In January, 270 American doctors and scientists had reproached Spotify in a letter for the damage caused to the credibility of science by broadcasts like Rogan’s.

Spotify lost more than $2 billion in market value last week as a result of the controversy. To try to tackle the image crisis, the company announced that it is going to take measures to combat misinformation about covid-19, which, for the moment, are limited to showing an ad in programs that address the coronavirus. The company has also announced that it will earmark $100 million for music and sound content from historically marginalized groups, in a bid to boost creators from different backgrounds, according to the letter obtained by Reuters.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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