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Joe Rogan’s $120 Million Spotify Contract In Jeopardy

Ivermectin has been falsely touted by some anti-vaxxers as an alternative to getting vaccinated.

Spotify will not allow any inaccurate content on its podcasting platform, the streaming service’s chief content & advertising business officer Dawn Ostroff said Tuesday at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit.

“There are definitely, you know, very aggressive moves on our part to invest in not only the R&D side of content moderation but also in our teams for trust and safety,” said Ostroff. “And we continue to invest a significant amount of money there, because it’s important for everybody.”




The streaming service has recently faced pushback from some employees over its partnership with Joe Rogan, with whom it signed a $120 million deal last year to exclusively license his video and audio podcast.

Rogan has made controversial and misleading comments about the COVID pandemic and vaccines. In April, the podcast host recommended healthy 21-year-olds not get the COVID vaccine—a statement he later walked back. The host has also praised some COVID conspiracy theories by far-right radio host Alex Jones and most recently said he believes Joe Biden did not get a real booster shot on live television.

The partnership with Joe Rogan is part of Spotify’s recent emphasis on podcasts, in which Ostroff has been instrumental. Besides Joe Rogan, the company also has exclusive deals with Barack and Michelle Obama and Kim Kardashian and is creating its own content.

In early 2019, Spotify had about 185,000 podcasts on its platform, Ostroff said Tuesday the company now hosts more than three million. Spotify has taken a fragmented business and introduced unified metrics and the foundational aspects of other digital business, said Ostroff.

Although the company has placed a big emphasis on podcasting in the past few years, its biggest competitor in the space is Apple, the world’s biggest tech company.

Yet, Ostroff said Apple taking the podcasting space more seriously is a positive thing, overall.

“The fact that Apple and other competitors are now in the space in a more committed way I think speaks volumes to the potential, and it elevates the entire medium which is very positive thing for all of us,” she said.

Joe Rogan on Wednesday posted a video to social media in which he revealed that he has COVID-19. The comic and popular podcast host said he took Ivermectin, a dewormer meant for horses that the CDC says is “not authorized or approved by FDA for prevention or treatment of COVID-19.”


The Spotify podcast host has made headlines during the pandemic for sowing doubt about vaccines. In April, Rogan walked back comments he made on his show when he said young, healthy people could skip the jab.

On Wednesday, Rogan told his Instagram audience he had COVID-19 and would have to rearrange his stand-up schedule. “I got back from the road Saturday night feeling very weary. I had a headache. I felt just run down,” he said, adding his symptoms progressed throughout the evening. The next day, he tested positive for COVID-19.

“So we threw the kitchen sink at it, all kinds of meds,” Rogan said, specifying he took a Z-Pac, prednisolone and ivermectin, which is a drug used to treat parasitic worms in horses.

Ivermectin has been falsely touted by some anti-vaxxers as an alternative to getting a COVID-19 jab. The New York Times reported on Aug. 30 that ivermectin has “repeatedly failed in clinical trials to help people infected with the coronavirus.”

Rogan noted he is feeling better. “Here we are on Wednesday, and I feel great,” he said. “I really only had one bad day. Today I feel good, I actually feel pretty fucking good.”

Rogan did not mention if he had been vaccinated but did say in the Instagram post, “A wonderful, heartfelt thank you to modern medicine for pulling me out of this so quickly and easily.”

Spotify did not immediately return a request for comment on Rogan’s Ivermectin note.

Watch his full statement below.

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