Update (1230ET): Amid all this 'tempest in a teapot', one person has some clarifying thoughts for all those @lizzie363 offers this suggestion to Spotify CEO Daniel Ek:
Take back control.
Tell employees on Monday: "we can get rid of Rogan by Friday, but with Rogan goes 50% of our workforce."
"Go back to your divisions and decide among yourselves who is getting dismissed and who is staying."
"I want the names by Thursday."
Will Ek have the cohones to stand up to the mob?
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Update (1030ET): While the tsunami of piler-on'rs grows - because what is more virtuous that signaling your disdain for someone that dares to think for themselves - there is also a gathering storm of support for Rogan and what his podcast stands for...
The eclectic group of @joerogan guests who were pulled from Spotify just shows you this censorship shit isn’t about left or right. It’s about an authoritarian push for complete control over speech. They hate Rogan bc he’s not controlled by corporate media.— Krystal Ball (@krystalball) February 5, 2022
The effort to smear Joe Rogan as a racist is one of the most despicable efforts I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. They don’t actually care, they’re just trying to destroy him. We either live in a society where context matters or we don’t. By their standard Joe Biden is a racist pic.twitter.com/7wUI8aeL3P— Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) February 5, 2022
Rogan is the man. If they cancel him just end your Spotify subscription.— Shane Gillis (@Shanemgillis) February 6, 2022
Nobody targeting Joe Rogan right now gives two damns about anything he's said in the past. This is all just an opportunity for activists to destroy a guy who doesn't carry water for those with institutional power, and whose audience dwarfs their own. It is that simple.— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) February 6, 2022
If they can cancel Joe they can cancel anyone. Time to stand up people.— Funky (@Benaskren) February 5, 2022
Nobody is offended by anything @joerogan said. Nobody is hurt. Nobody is a victim. They went digging for the “offensive” comments. They’re happy to have found them. That’s why these damned vultures deserve a middle finger, not an apology. Rogan owes them nothing but contempt.— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) February 5, 2022
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Unfortunately for both Spotify and Joe Rogan, the controversy surrounding 'the Joe Rogan Experience' isn't over yet. In fact, it looks like it's metastasizing, now that one of the artists who pulled her music from the platform in recent days has managed to 'change the conversation' to the "problematic" use of 'the n-word' in some episodes of the show.
So far, Spotify has removed at least 113 episodes, according to a running count by JRE Missing, a website dedicated to monitoring how many episodes of the show are no longer available on the service. Some of the episodes were removed months ago, but the biggest purge has taken place since Friday. The show has been exclusively available on Spotify for about a year.
At the same time, Rogan has published another frank apology video, this one in response to a super clip shared by grammy-winning soul musician India Arie of him saying 'the n-word'. Rogan said he's "making this video to talk about the most regretful and shameful thing I've ever had to talk about publicly."
Rogan clarified that he hasn't said the word at all 'in years', before explaining that when the word would come up in discussion, that he would say the full word instead of saying 'the n-word', and that, given this context, the audience would be understanding.
He went on to explain that he has since changed his mind, and now agrees that a white person shouldn't say the word at all, even in context.
It's not clear how many of the episodes removed by Spotify actually feature Rogan saying the word, or one of his guests (which, depending on the race of the guest, might be deemed acceptable by some). The show is nearing its 1,775 episode, and has been running since 2009.
Neither Rogan nor Spotify has released a statement nor given an explanation for why any of the episodes have been removed, according to the New York Times.
Both the NYT and other news outlets like Engadget have reported that the company's reasoning for removing the episodes is unclear.
Rogan ended his statement by saying he hopes this instance is a “teachable moment” to others and offering his “sincerest deepest apologies.”
Spotify's new content guidelines prohibit "dangerous" content that "advocates or glorifies serious physical harm towards an individual or group". But nowhere does it specifically mention 'the n-word' or any other racial slurs (although it does prohibit content that "glorifies" breaking the law - but isn't that what 99% of hip hop music is?)