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Joe Rogan apologized to Spotify and half-apologized to Neil Young and Joni Mitchell in a row over COVID-19 misinformation Print-ready version

by Isobel Asher Hamilton
Business Insider
January 31, 2022

Joe Rogan has addressed recent criticism that his podcast, "The Joe Rogan Experience," has helped to spread COVID-19 misinformation.

A backlash from scientists and health professionals prompted Neil Young and Joni Mitchell to request that their music be taken off Spotify, which owns the podcast.

In a video posted to Instagram on Sunday, Rogan said of Young and Mitchell: "I'm very sorry that they feel that way. I most certainly don't want that."

He added, "I want to thank Spotify for being so supportive during this time, and I'm very sorry that this is happening to them and that they're taking so much heat from it."

Spotify bought Rogan's podcast in May 2020 for a sum in excess of $100 million, reports said.

Earlier this month, an episode of "The Joe Rogan Experience" featured Robert Malone, a doctor who said mask-wearing had induced something called "mass formation psychosis," and that people were hypnotized into believing facts about COVID-19.

Soon after, a group of 270 doctors, nurses, scientists, and educators published an open letter that asked Spotify to tackle COVID-19 misinformation on its platform. Psychologists have rejected Malone's claims, saying "mass formation psychosis" does not exist.

In his video on Sunday, Rogan said he was a Neil Young fan, adding: "No hard feelings toward Neil Young, and definitely no hard feelings toward Joni Mitchell."

Rogan said he could do more research on controversial topics before recording episodes. "I think if there's anything that I've done that I could do better is have more experts with differing opinions right after I have the controversial ones," he said.

Rogan said he was happy with Spotify's decision to put content advisories on episodes that discuss COVID-19.

This isn't the first time Rogan's podcast has posed a moderation problem for Spotify. The company faced intense criticism in October 2020 after Rogan hosted right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones as a guest on his podcast.

Vice reported in September 2020 that Spotify CEO Daniel Ek fielded questions from employees objecting to transphobic content on Rogan's podcast.

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Added to Library on January 31, 2022. (594)

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