Activist Spotify employees received a big surprise this morning: a Joe Rogan interview with Alex Jones.
It’s unclear whether Spotify specifically reversed its decision to ban Alex Jones and other right-wing commentators. But the net result is the same: Alex Jones is now back on Spotify, thanks to a just-recorded interview with Joe Rogan.
Earlier this morning, The Joe Rogan Experience served up the surprise. Episode #1555, recorded just days earlier, popped up as a freshly-uploaded episode, with comedian Tim Dillon also part of the interview. So far, Spotify hasn’t uttered a word about the podcast episode — though activist employees are reportedly putting pressure on management to remove the interview.
Assuming nothing is removed, edited, or otherwise altered, the episode represents a complete 180-degree turn from Spotify’s earlier policy. Back in August of 2018, we first reported that Alex Jones’ InfoWars podcast was banned from Spotify. Rival platforms like Apple Podcasts also banned Jones.
Spotify’s ban was reinforced in September of this year, when the streaming giant refused to upload an earlier Joe Rogan interview of Alex Jones. Shortly after signing its massive, $100 million deal with Rogan, Spotify started migrating the podcaster’s previous episodes onto its platform — but omitted interviews with guests like Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Gavin McInnes.
Those archived interviews remain missing. But this just-uploaded interview is freely available.
With the newly-recorded episode, Rogan is clearly making a statement.
Earlier, activist Spotify employees demanded serious changes to The Joe Rogan Experience. That included demands to remove at least one episode viewed as transphobic, while also securing editorial oversight on all future (and past) episodes from Rogan. Spotify did remove multiple episodes from Rogan’s back-catalog of shows, but so far hasn’t removed any newer uploads or acquiesced to other demands. That includes the recent Jones interview.
“Alex Jones!” Rogan proclaimed at the beginning of the episode, before launching into a broader statement about censorship.
“People criticize me for being friends with you and for talking to you,” Rogan noted. “And they also criticize me for not supporting a lot of these people that got banned and de-platformed. My take on it has always been, the best way to counter wrong speech is correct speech. When someone says something that’s wrong, or when someone says a conspiracy theory that’s not accurate, the best way to counter that is to do better speech — to have people say the accurate information, and to let the truth rise to the top.”
“When you start censoring people, the problem is it’s a f—king slippery slope,” Rogan continued.
“And there’s a reason why we’re so steadfast about protecting the First Amendment in this country. And people don’t think it applies to tech, because these tech institutes are private businesses and they should be able to do whatever they want with their private business.
“The problem is, that f—king slippery slope has gone from banning you, Alex Jones, off of Twitter a year-and-a-half ago, to getting the White House Press Secretary banned on Twitter because she posts something from The New York Post. Which is crazy!
“What the Post printed, what they put out there, is accurate.”
The Rogan episode is also available on YouTube. Spotify will become the exclusive platform for The Joe Rogan Experience starting next year.