Spotify CEO Apologizes to Employees And Maintains That “Cancelling Joe Rogan” Is Not The Answer

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There has been some recent controversy surrounding Joe Rogan’s popular podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience” and his use of the n-word and various racial slurs. In light of the criticism, Joe has removed over 100 episodes of the show. However, Spotify doesn’t want to cancel the podcast altogether.

“While I strongly condemn what Joe has said and I agree with his decision to remove past episodes from our platform, I realize some will want more. And I want to make one point very clear—I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer,” Spotify CEO Daniel Ek wrote in his memo to the ‘Spotify Team.’ “We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but canceling voices is a slippery slope. Looking at the issue more broadly, it’s critical thinking and open debate that powers real and necessary progress.”

Ek did acknowledge that he’s aware some people won’t be super happy with that decision, and apologized on Rogan’s behalf to whoever was offended by the show.

“There are no words I can say to adequately convey how deeply sorry I am for the way The Joe Rogan Experience controversy continues to impact each of you,” Ek stated. “Not only are some of Joe Rogan’s comments incredibly hurtful—I want to make clear that they do not represent the values of this company. I know this situation leaves many of you feeling drained, frustrated and unheard.”

Ek also confusingly stated that Spotify is not the publisher of Rogan’s podcast. However, Rogan signed a $100 million deal with Spotify, and is where the podcast exclusively lives. In fact, the podcast used to be available for free to anyone, but Spotify paid to publish it. Nevertheless, Ek is saying Spotify is not the publisher for the podcast.

“In last week’s Town Hall, I outlined to you that we are not the publisher of JRE,” Ek said. “But perception due to our exclusive license implies otherwise. So I’ve been wrestling with how this perception squares with our values.”

Ultimately, Ek apologized to his employees, wishing they didn’t have to carry any of the burden for what’s happening. But he spins it into a positive: “For me, I come back to centering on our mission of unlocking the potential of human creativity and enabling more than a billion people to enjoy the work of what we think will be more than 50 million creators,” he said. “That mission makes these clashes worth the effort.”

To hear more of Ek’s argument to not take down the podcast, check out the video below.

Do you think Joe Rogan’s podcast should be canceled completely, or deleting over 100 episodes was enough?