Shock-jock Joe Rogan is being tuned out on Spotify.
The streaming music service has been quietly removing episodes of “The Joe Rogan Experience” from their platform, according to Digital Music News — including as many as 42 interviews featuring a variety of controversial characters, including former Breitbart news editor Milo Yiannopoulos, Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes and comedian Chris D’Elia, who was accused of “grooming” underage girls and soliciting pornographic images.
Spotify has not produced a statement to clarify the action, but Variety has reported on a number of nixed episodes that featured controversial subject matter.
Scientifically tenuous content was also subject to removal. For example, Rogan’s talks with Bulletproof Coffee founder Dave Asprey, the self-proclaimed “father of biohacking,” have also disappeared, DMN reports. Asprey has been criticized in the past for touting a high-fat diet regimen without thoroughly researched support from doctors and other health experts.
Asprey, who hosts a podcast that explores new concepts in biohacking, is well known for promoting pseudo-science in the pursuit of life longevity, such as penile “zapping” to treat erectile dysfunction or the bizarre trend of “butthole sunning.”
Episodes featuring conspiracy theorist Alex Jones have also vanished, though it comes as no surprise since Spotify had already deleted several episodes of Jones’ “Infowars” podcast back in 2018, alleging that the show gave a platform to hate speech.
In spite of Spotify’s previous stance, an October 2020 interview with Jones on Rogan’s show remains accessible. A leaked internal memo obtained by BuzzFeed News shortly after the episode aired revealed that that particular appearance by Jones would decidedly remain available on the music app.
“We are not going to ban specific individuals from being guests on other people’s shows, as the episode/show complies with our content policies,” wrote Horacio Gutierrez, Spotify’s chief legal officer and head of global affairs, according to BuzzFeed. The statement was issued, in part, as a response to a recent threat of a strike by Spotify staffers just after Rogan’s move to the platform in September 2020 — demanding they be able to edit or remove “problematic” portions of his podcast.
The news comes in the year following an exclusive deal between Spotify and “The Joe Rogen Experience,” making the streaming service the sole source of Rogan’s content after years of developing an audience of more than 8.4 million via YouTube. The podcaster announced the partnership last year, acknowledging that the contract was contingent on the disappearance of a few choice interviews.
“There were a few episodes they didn’t want on their platform, and I was like ‘OK, I don’t care,’ ” Rogan said at the time, according to DMN.
Despite the censure, Rogan is shrugging his way to the bank as said Spotify deal has promised him $100 million.