Top line

Spotify received widespread criticism this week for having far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones appear on the Joe Rogan Experience, but the company has no plans to end the episode, according to a leaked email from BuzzFeed News.

Comedian Joe Rogan will appear during his appearance at The Ice House Comedy Club on August 7, 2019 in … [+] Pasadena, California.

Photo by Michael S. Schwartz / Getty Images

Key factors

In the episode released on Wednesday, Jones questioned vaccines and masks, and criticized Spotify for allowing the podcast to spread dangerous medical misinformation during the pandemic.

Rogan tried at times to review Jones, but critics still attacked Spotify and Rogan for giving Jones a platform in the first place, particularly because Spotify removed Jones’ 2018 podcast for “hateful content”.

Spotify also removed previous Joe Rogan Experience episodes starring Jones and Gavin McInnes, founder of Proud Boys.

Spotify didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes, but in a leaked email from BuzzFeed News, Spotify’s chief legal officer said, “We’re not going to prohibit certain people from being guests on other people’s shows, like this one Follow / show complies with our content guidelines. “

Main critic

Nathan Bernard, an online activist fighting the old right, said “it’s incredibly crude and dangerous to continue platforming these far-right sick” for “promoting anti-Vaxx conspiracies and broadcasting banned Infowars videos” .

The online liberal language group Sleeping Giants criticized Spotify for “paying $ 100 million for the privilege of platforming a man who terrorized Sandy Hook’s parents.”

Key background

Rogan’s exclusive deal with Spotify – reportedly worth more than $ 100 million – was a major win for the streaming service as it appears to go beyond music. However, this isn’t the first time Rogan has been reviewed since moving to the platform. He apologized in September for spreading false rumors that left-wing activists were setting off forest fires on the west coast. Spotify CEO Daniel Elk also had to explain why the company didn’t remove an episode starring Abigail Shrier, the author of Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Madness That Seduces Our Daughters, Motherboard reported.

Surprising fact

Forbes named Rogan the highest-paid podcaster in 2019 and estimated he made $ 30 million last year. The Joe Rogan Experience is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with 9.8 million YouTube subscribers and more than 190 million downloads per month.


Major social networks, including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, have effectively de-platformed Jones. Jones faces four libel suits stemming from false allegations of national tragedy, including a false allegation about who was behind the Parkland gunfire and the allegation that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax.