After N-Word Controversy, Spotify Still Backing Joe Rogan

Podcaster had already apologized
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2022 3:55 PM CST
Updated Feb 7, 2022 2:11 AM CST
After Post Calls Him Out, Rogan Apologizes for Racial Slurs
Joe Rogan is seen during a weigh-in before UFC 211 on Friday, May 12, 2017, in Dallas before UFC 211.   (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

(Newser) Update: Following the latest Joe Rogan controversy, Spotify is still standing by the podcaster. The streaming company's CEO said in a letter to employees released Sunday that he "strongly condemn[s]" Rogan's use of the n-word, but that "silencing Joe is not the answer." He said he did agree with removing certain episodes from the Spotify platform, the AP reports. "We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but canceling voices is a slippery slope," he wrote. "Looking at the issue more broadly, it’s critical thinking and open debate that powers real and necessary progress." Our original story from Saturday follows:

Like several other musical artists, India Arie pulled her work from Spotify during an uprising against Joe Rogan's spreading of COVID-19 misinformation. She had another reason, too, which she made clear when she posted a video of clips showing Rogan using the n-word more than 20 times on his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience. On Saturday, Rogan apologized, CNN reports, calling the issue "the most regretful and shameful thing I've ever had to talk about publicly." His post on Instagram said, "I know that to most people, there's no context where a white person is ever allowed to say that, never mind publicly on a podcast, and I agree with that," per Entertainment Weekly.

"He shouldn't even be uttering the word," Arie said in her post on Instagram. Rogan said he hadn't said it in years; the clips covered a 12-year period. He also said the clips were taken out of context, that he had used the slur in discussions about how it had been used by comedians including Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx, who were Black. "It's not my word to use," Rogan said in his post, adding, "I never used it to be racist, because I'm not racist, but whenever you're in a situation where you have to say 'I'm not racist,' you've f---ed up, and I clearly have f---ed up."

Spotify took down more than 70 episodes of Rogan's podcast on Friday, per the tracking site jremissing.com. The streaming service didn't say why, nor did Rogan. His is Spotify's most popular podcast, per the New York Times. Rogan did say he'd taken down an episode in which he'd talked about seeing the film Planet of the Apes in a Black neighborhood. The line of discussion in that episode "looks terrible even in context," Rogan said. Spotify did not comment on the issue Saturday. (Read more Joe Rogan stories.)

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