Activists, media, and Twitter mob pressure Spotify to deplatform Joe Rogan over vaccine comments

Joe Rogan, one of the world’s most popular podcasters, is being targeted again, this time for sharing his opinion on whether young people should get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The attempts to cancel Rogan began after a clip from his recent podcast with comedian Dave Smith went viral on Twitter.

In the clip, Rogan begins by stating “I think for the most part it’s safe to get vaccinated, I do, I do” but adds that in his opinion, young and healthy people shouldn’t get vaccinated:

“But if you’re like 21 years old and you say to me, ‘Should I get vaccinated?’ I’d go ‘No. Are you healthy? Are you a healthy person? Like look, don’t do anything stupid, but you should take care of yourself. If you’re a healthy person and you’re exercising all the time and you’re young and you’re eating well, I don’t think you need to worry about this.’”

He also shares his concerns about employers forcing people to get the COVID vaccine and describes his personal experience with his children getting the coronavirus:

“Both my children got the virus. It was nothing. I hate to say that. If someone’s children died from this, I’m very sorry that that happened. I’m not in any way diminishing that. But I’m saying the personal experience that my children had with COVID is nothing.

One of the kids had a headache, the other one didn’t feel good for a couple of days. I mean not feel good like, hmmm, no big deal. No coughing, no headaches, no aching, no, like, in agony, there was none of that. It was very mild. It was akin to them getting a cold.”

Smith also discusses how some people that get vaccinated are putting on a theatrical display and virtue signaling.

“I’m not injecting my daughter with something to fucking virtue signal,” Smith said. “If there’s something that she’s of no risk, statistically has no risk from, I’m sorry, I’m not taking any experiment on her.”

Rogan concludes by describing his amazement that someone stating they don’t want to get their child vaccinated is controversial:

“It’s amazing that that’s controversial. That even saying that ‘I’m not going to inject my child with a vaccine,’ is controversial. It’s crazy. Because again, we are not even talking about the flu which we just found out that killed 22,000 people last year. We’re not talking about that. We’re talking about something that is not statistically dangerous for children. But yet, people still want you to get your child vaccinated which is crazy to me. Like, you should be vaccinated if you’re vulnerable.”

Activist group Media Matters were sure to frame its headline to highlight Spotify’s association with Joe Rogan, a common technique when trying to apply pressure to a platform.

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Spotify Continues to Remove Joe Rogan Episodes — 42 Shows Now Deleted

Spotify is continuing to remove episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience as part of their $100 million exclusive relationship, with more nixed shows discovered this week.

Just last week, Digital Music News first reported that 40 different Joe Rogan Experience podcast episodes were found missing from Spotify, now the exclusive platform for the show. Now, that number has quickly grown to 42, with potentially more shows quietly getting removed from the catalog.

Among the newly-missing is an episode (#411) with Bulletproof Coffee founder Dave Asprey, a frequent guest on The Joe Rogan Experience. Strangely, Spotify has deleted three total episodes with Asprey for reasons that aren’t entirely clear.

One explanation for the removals is that Asprey frequently backs controversial anti-aging and scientific theories, including claims that Bulletproof Coffee is extremely healthy while other coffee brands are not. Asprey has designed the ‘Bulletproof Diet,’ and frequently criticizes coffee manufacturers for leaving high levels of damaging mycotoxins in their blends.

Asprey — who has predicted that he will live to the age of 180 — is certainly unconventional in his theories, though it appears that Spotify has decided to debunk his claims by removing his episodes entirely.

Also suddenly missing is a ‘Live from the Icehouse’ episode (#149) featuring Joe Rogan and Little Esther, Al Madrigal, Josh McDermitt, Brendon Walsh, Felicia Michaels, and Brian Redban. That sounds like a fun time, though perhaps one-too-many raunchy jokes were tossed around in the episode. Indeed, the episode may have simply contained one objectionable joke — but that was enough for Spotify’s editors to hit delete and remove the show entirely.

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Spotify censors art for “misinformation,” pulls Ian Brown’s anti-lockdown track

Spotify has removed an anti-lockdown song by Ian Brown, the former lead vocalist of English rock band The Stone Roses. The music streaming service claims the song violated its policies against COVID-19 misinformation.

Brown released the anti-lockdown song “Little Seed Big Tree” last September. “NO LOCKDOWN NO TESTS NO TRACKS NO MASKS NO VAX,” he tweeted while launching the song.

On March 12, Brown took to Twitter to announce that Spotify had removed his song.

“SPOTiFY stream the streams and censor artists like they have with my last song TOOK IT DOWN just put it down the memory hole! FREE EXPRESSiON AS REVOLUTION,” he wrote.

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Spotify Wants to Eavesdrop on Your Life to Pick the Next Song to Play

Music streaming service Spotify has reportedly filed a patent for new personality tracking technology that analyzes a user’s emotional state and suggests music based on it. The patent, titled “Identification of taste attributes from an audio signal,” details constantly monitoring “speech content and background noise” to provide song suggestions.

Music Business Worldwide reports that in October 2020, Spotify filed a patent for personality tracking technology that could determine a user’s emotional state in order to suggest the perfect song for them to listen to.

The filing explained that behavioral variables such as a user’s mood, their favorite genre of music, or their demographic could all “correspond to different personality traits of a user.” Spotify suggested that this could be used to promote personalized content to users based on the personality traits it detected.

Now a new U.S. Spotify patent shows that the company wants to use the technology to analyze users even further by using speech recognition to determine their “emotional state, gender, age, or accent.” These attributes can then be used to recommend content.

The new patent is titled “Identification of taste attributes from an audio signal” and was filed in February 2018 and granted on January 12, 2021. The patent can be read in full here.

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Spotify Employees Threaten to Strike If Joe Rogan Podcasts Aren’t Edited or Removed

Late last week, we first reported that Spotify employees were demanding direct editorial oversight over the recently-acquired Joe Rogan Experience podcast.  That would include the ability to directly edit or remove sections of upcoming interviews, or block the uploading of episodes deemed problematic. The employees also demanded the ability to add trigger warnings, corrections, and references to fact-checked articles on topics discussed by Rogan in the course of his multi-hour discussions.

Some of the group’s demands have already been met by Spotify management, though a refusal to allow further changes is stirring talk of a high-profile walkout or strike.  According to preliminary plans shared with Digital Music News, the strike would principally involve New York-based Spotify employees, and would be accompanied by protests outside Spotify’s Manhattan headquarters.  Other aspects would involve media appearances and coordination with other activist organizations.

For Spotify, the decision to offer some concessions may have only emboldened demands for wide-scale editorial oversight.

During the transition of Rogan’s podcast episodes onto the Spotify platform, multiple past episodes were omitted.  Those included interviews with Milo Yiannopoulos, Gavin McInnes, and Alex Jones.  Additionally, Rogan issued a rare public apology and correction over his claim that left-wing anarchists had set fires in Oregon, a point that was made during a recent interview with Douglas Murray.  The apology is now believed to be the result of pressure from Spotify staffers.

But those measures apparently don’t go far enough. Rogan’s claim during the Murray podcast is still part of the podcast recording, despite demands that the offending section be removed or directly corrected within the audio itself.  It now appears that Spotify is unwilling to directly edit or otherwise alter any existing episodes, with content alteration considered a bright line that shouldn’t be crossed.

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SPOTIFY DELETES ALEX JONES EPISODES FROM JOE ROGAN’S ARCHIVES

Joe Rogan debuted Monday night on Spotify. For two reasons, the licensing deal has dominated the media discussion: 1) it is worth $100 million; and 2) his wide-ranging listeners feared the deal would change the show.

Yesterday, the second fear proved well-founded. Spotify uploaded Rogan’s archive with past episodes but noticeably left off some of the most newsworthy: the appearances from Alex Jones.

Jones is wild, dangerously unpredictable, and the poster child of tech de-platforming. Which is why he’s so important to Rogan’s legacy. Personalities like Jones are what made Rogan’s podcast distinctive.

The Joe Rogan Experience welcomed everyone. And allowed them to think and say anything. From comedians to fighters, from pundits to entrepreneurs, from independent thinkers to conspiracy theorists. If JRE has an identity, it is that all conversations are permitted. — no holds barred.

Today, Rogan’s listeners are disappointed and vindicated. Just search “Rogan, Alex Jones” on Twitter.

The Feb. 27, 2019 episode with Jones has over 22 million YouTube views.

Jones wasn’t the only guest Spotify deleted. Newsweek pointed out the list is rather large. Milo Yiannopoulos, CensoredTV’s Gavin McInnes, Chris D’Elia, Jordan Peterson’s daughter, Mikhaila Peterson, Louis Theroux, Owen Benjamin, and Joey Diaz were also left out.

It’s unknown if Rogan signed off on this. Rogan, more than anyone else, has fought back against cancel culture and suppression of free speech. Rogan has yet to comment on the missing episodes.

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