Spotify Refuses to Drop Joe Rogan Despite His Use of the N-Word: ‘Canceling Voices Is a Slippery Slope’

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Spotify CEO Daniel Ek is now responding to revelations that Joe Rogan repeatedly used the n-word in the past.

Late on Friday (February 4th), Digital Music News first reported that Spotify had abruptly removed 70 episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience from its platform. Now, we have a better idea of why that occurred.

Enter singer-songwriter India Arie, who followed Neil Young and Joni Mitchell in removing her music from Spotify in protest of Joe Rogan. But instead of expressing issues with controversial vaccine-related interviews, India Arie pointed to Rogan’s repeated use of the n-word in the past. And to hammer the point home, the artist offered a rapid-fire video compilation of Rogan using the word over a twelve-year span.

The jarring clip was brief but required mining through years of episodes and thousands of hours of interviews. “He shouldn’t even be uttering the word,” India Arie slammed. “Don’t even say it, under any context. Don’t say it. That’s where I stand. I have always stood there.”

Over the weekend, Rogan offered an apology while also pointing to the extremely unique rules around the n-word.

Previously, Rogan said that he’d opted against using the ‘n-word’ substitution, especially when directly referring to the word itself. In many cases, Rogan explained that he was discussing the use of the n-word itself, including referencing the word’s use by comedians like Lenny Bruce, Redd Foxx, or Richard Pryor.

“I know that to most people, there is no context where a white person is ever allowed to say that word, never mind publicly on a podcast, and I agree with that now,” Rogan stated while noting that he hadn’t used the word “in years.”

Separately, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has also responded to the issue.

The company abruptly deleted 70 episodes on Friday evening without offering any explanation. It now appears that those episodes contained some form of racially-sensitive language or jokes, including the use of the n-word in some cases.

Ek wrote a lengthy letter to Spotify staffers addressing the issue, while also affirming that Joe Rogan wasn’t going anywhere. “I want to make one point very clear — I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer,” Ek wrote in correspondence first published by The Hollywood Reporter. “We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but canceling voices is a slippery slope.”

“I think it’s important you’re aware that we’ve had conversations with Joe and his team about some of the content in his show, including his history of using some racially insensitive language,” the letter continues. “Following these discussions and his own reflections, he chose to remove a number of episodes from Spotify. He also issued his own apology over the weekend.”