Culture

Spotify Issues Apology to Staff After Clip of Joe Rogan Repeatedly Using N-Word Goes Viral Again

During a Spotify internal memo on Sunday, company CEO Daniel Ek made a statement condemning Joe Rogan of using a racial slur on his podcast.

The Spotify and Joe Rogan snowball effect keeps rolling. After an old compilation clip of Rogan using the n-word on his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience went viral again over the weekend, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek sent an internal memo saying that Rogan’s comments were “incredibly hurtful” and didn’t reflect company values. Despite Ek’s apology, he has still decided to not remove the podcast from Spotify.

“While some might want us to pursue a different path, I believe that more speech on more issues can be highly effective in improving the status quo and enhancing the conversation altogether,” Ek said in the statement.

Ek’s comments follow a nearly month-long crisis facing JRE after Rogan started facing more scrutiny over the amount of COVID-19 misinformation shared on his the podcast. Since the controversy began, recording artists and fellow podcasters have announced that they’d be removing their material from Spotify.

Acknowledging that he was “deeply sorry” for Rogan’s use of the n-word, he said that he’s committing to an “incremental investment of $100 million” to develop and push content made by marginalized groups. While JRE has not been cancelled, Spotify has instead removed 113 episodes of the show so far, which launched in December 2009.

On Saturday morning, Rogan took to Instagram to post a clip of him apologizing, claiming that he is “not racist” and that the clips were taken out of context.

“Whenever you’re in a situation where you have to say, ‘I’m not racist,’ you fucked up, and I clearly have fucked up,” he said.

Last week, India Arie declared that she would be removing her catalog and SongVersation podcast from Spotify because of Rogan’s COVID misinformation, but especially after discovering that Rogan had used the n-word in 71 episodes of JRE. According to Deadline, Arie also post the clip montage on her Instagram Story. Arie follows numerous artists who have opted to remove their music from Spotify, including Neil YoungJoni Mitchell and others.

Jaelani Turner-Williams

Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with bylines at Billboard, MTV News, NYLON, Recording Academy and more. Read her mind on Twitter at @hernameisjae.

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