Spotify CEO Daniel Ek addressed employees in a late night time memo addressing Joe Rogan’s use of the n-word and the mysterious elimination of 70 podcast episodes earlier this week. The full variety of deleted Joe Rogan Expertise episodes is now 113, in response to the web site jremissing.com.
“Not solely are a few of Joe Rogan’s feedback extremely hurtful — I need to clarify that they don’t characterize the values of this firm,” Ek writes within the memo, which The Verge obtained. “I do know this example leaves lots of you feeling drained, pissed off and unheard.”
He goes on to say Spotify spoke with Rogan and his staff about “a number of the content material in his present, together with his historical past of utilizing some racially insensitive language.” Following these chats “and his personal reflections,” Ek says Rogan “selected to take away various episodes from Spotify.”
Ek additionally says that though he “strongly condemns” Rogan’s phrases, he doesn’t imagine “silencing Joe is the reply.”
“We must always have clear traces round content material and take motion when they’re crossed, however cancelling voices is a slippery slope,” he writes. “Wanting on the problem extra broadly, it’s essential considering and open debate that powers actual and mandatory progress.”
He reiterates that he believes Spotify is a platform, not a writer, however acknowledges workers and others may assume in any other case given its licensing settlement with Rogan. (Ek made an analogous level in an organization city corridor final week.)
Ek then says he’s committing $100 million — the identical quantity reportedly paid to completely distribute Rogan’s present — to licensing, creating, and advertising and marketing music and different audio content material by creators from traditionally marginalized teams. He additionally says the corporate is increasing the variety of outdoors consultants it consults on how you can stability person security and “creator expression” and can share extra particulars.
Rogan himself apologized yesterday for utilizing the n-word and for making a racist joke through which he in contrast being in an space with many Black folks to being in Planet of the Apes.
This newest Rogan controversy began when Neil Younger eliminated his music from the platform to protest Rogan’s skepticism of COVID-19 vaccines; Spotify responded to that problem by promising to position informational labels on any podcast content material that discusses COVID, however in any other case insisted it is just a platform and won’t take additional motion.