Podcaster Joe Rogan once again weighed in on the controversy over his repeated use of the N-word on his podcast — and streaming portal Spotify’s removal of dozens of previous episodes for his “racially insensitive language” — and this time he played the victim card.
Last Friday, Spotify removed 70 episodes of ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ from its platform, dating from 2009 to 2018, which the streamer says it did at the request of Rogan and his team, variété.com reports.
That came after singer India Arie last week said she was pulling her music and podcasts off Spotify, citing Joe Rogan’s “language around race”; she reposted a video to Instagram compiling 24 times Rogan used the N-word on his podcast, and the resurfaced clip quickly went viral.
Joe Rogan addressed the situation on Tuesday in the episode of his podcast, which is distributed exclusively by Spotify.
“That video was always there. It’s like, this is a political hit,” Rogan said.
He continued, “And so they mix up all these things that I’ve ever said that are wrong.”
At the same time, Rogan said, “It’s good because it makes me tackle some things that I really wouldn’t have wanted.”
“You just have to stay offline. Life goes on as usual,” Rogan told his guest, stand-up comedian and actor Akaash Singh at the beginning of the episode.
Singh told Rogan: “Real life is people who know you, and you’re a great guy” and said he was proud of Rogan for apologizing for his use of racist comments: “We’ve all said some wild shit, and you apologized, and admitted it’s wrong, good for you.”
Rogan added: “I think you have to be very careful not to apologize for nonsense.” He cited Awkwafina’s recent statement addressing critics who accused her of appropriating black culture.
“They said it was a ‘blaccent,’ ie — come on, man,” Rogan said.
Previously, in an Instagram post on February 5, Rogan responded to the clip in which he uttered the N-word.
He said it was “the most regrettable and embarrassing thing I’ve ever had to talk about in public,” adding that he hadn’t used the N-word in years.
Following Rogan’s apology, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek sent a memo to employees on Sunday saying he was “deeply sorry” for how the controversy over the podcaster has affected them. However, he wrote, “I don’t believe silencing Joe is the answer… canceling votes is a slippery slope.”
In his memo to employees, Ek also said Spotify will invest $100 million in the licensing, development and marketing of music and audio content from “historically marginalized groups”. Spotify’s exclusive multi-year deal with Rogan is reportedly worth over $100 million.
Joe Rogan was certainly a controversial figure even before Spotify signed its exclusive deal with him in 2020. When Spotify added “The Joe Rogan Experience” to the service in September 2020, it had dropped a few episodes, including those featuring right-wing dudes like Alex Jones, Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, and Milo Yiannopoulos.
The current intense spotlight on Joe Rogan – who had the number 1 most listened to podcast on Spotify last year – started last month after Neil Young demanded Spotify remove his songs or drop Rogan’s podcast, citing misinformation about Covid about the show.
On Monday, Young urged Spotify employees to stop, writing in a blog post: “Get out before it eats your soul. Ek’s goals are about numbers — not art, not creativity.
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