Last month, Digital Music News first reported that Spotify employees were threatening to strike in response to the guests and conversations on The Joe Rogan Experience (JRE). Now, Joe Rogan has broken his silence on the subject.
Ahead of JRE’s much-anticipated Spotify debut, Joe Rogan made clear that Spotify would have no creative control over his ultra-popular podcast, which is known for its diverse body of guests and unfiltered dialogue. However, when the program officially arrived on the music platform, fans noticed that several episodes (most but not all involving controversial individuals) were missing from the lineup.
The missing podcasts were initially attributed to a technical hang-up. However, it subsequently came to light that a number of Spotify employees had taken issue with JRE, with many pushing for the removal of additional episodes. Shortly thereafter, DMN revealed that the in-house opposition went even deeper than that, as some team members were demanding direct editorial oversight of Joe Rogan Experience episodes – and threatening to strike or stage a walkout unless they received it.
Now, Rogan has personally addressed the weeks-long controversy and pushed back against the idea of Spotify censoring his podcast. The 53-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt emphasized his stance on the matter in the 1,544th entry of JRE, when stand-up comedian and podcaster Tim Dillon asked whether the rumors of a dispute with Spotify employees were “complete fodder.”
“They have literally said nothing to me about it,” responded Joe Rogan, referring to contact from executives about employees’ reported plans to strike. “Zero. It’s never come up.”
However, Rogan also acknowledged that Spotify employees might have voiced their disapproval of JRE episode #1509, which featured Abigail Shrier, author of Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters.
“Now, is there someone at Spotify that’s complaining about the Abigail Shrier episode? I’m sure. I’m sure there’s someone who’s complaining about it. Is it a transphobic episode? It’s not. They’re wrong. It’s nothing to do with that. It has to do with the fact that human beings are actually malleable. We all know that. That’s why cults exist.
“There’s a thought process now,” Rogan continued, “that if you’re talking at all about trans people, you have to be 100 percent supportive. You can never question whether or not children should be allowed to transition, babies, hormone blockers for prepubescent children. All this is madness.”
From there, the former Fear Factor host – who retweeted a newly-uploaded YouTube video mocking Spotify employees’ demands today – emphasized his belief that some people are “horribly sad” after undergoing gender-reassignment surgery and that others are happier.
“What Abigail is talking about in her book, Irreversible Damage, is large clusters of kids who are mostly kids that are socially awkward, many of them are autistic, many of them have never had any praise at all in their life, and they transition and they get all this praise from people. Because it is, right now it’s in vogue.”
Rogan then relayed his desire to have open conversations about the topic, expressed his willingness to speak with transgender guests on the podcast, and returned to the subject of behind-the-scenes disputes at Spotify.
“I don’t know what the actual conversation has been from Spotify talking to these employees. But if these employees are listening, I would tell you, emphatically, I am not in any way anti-trans. … I am 100 percent for people being able to do whatever they want, as long as it doesn’t harm other people.”
Lastly, Rogan said: “I’m talking off the top of my head. And a lot of times I’m saying shit that I don’t even mean. Cus I’m saying it because this is a fucking podcast. And if you have a problem with people saying terrible shit and you work for Spotify, maybe you should listen to some of the lyrics. Okay, cus some of the lyrics and some of the fucking music that you guys play over and over and over again makes my shit pale in comparison.”
“But I get it, you’re a 23-year-old woke kid and you’re working for this company and you think you’re gonna put your foot down, I get it.”
It’s unclear if Rogan’s comments about Spotify’s editorial oversight demands inspired confidence in investors, but SPOT shares finished at $251.37 apiece today – a more than $11 uptick from Friday and their highest closing value since early September.
Here’s episode #1,544 of The Joe Rogan Experience, with the dialogue about Spotify employees beginning at about the 1:02 mark.