New York – Joe Rogan has responded to the backlash he’s received from Spotify artists surrounding Covid-19 misinformation on his popular podcast.
“I’m not trying to promote misinformation, I’m not trying to be controversial. I’ve never tried to do anything with this podcast other than just talk to people and have interesting conversations,” Rogan said in a 9-minute video posted to Instagram on Sunday.
On Sunday, Spotify said it will add a content advisory to any podcast episode about Covid-19 — and Rogan said he agrees with that move. The advisory will direct listeners to a Covid-19 information hub that will include links to trusted sources, the company said.
“I want to thank Spotify for being so supportive during this time. And I’m very sorry that this is happening to them, and that they’re taking so much heat from it,” Rogan said.
Spotify will also for the first time publicly post its long-standing Platform Rules. A growing list of musicians and personalities are pressuring Spotify to take action on misinformation after Neil Young and then Joni Mitchell requested that their music be removed from the platform.
In his video, Rogan said he would try to balance controversial guests by having the mainstream perspective on right after them. He also said he will research contentious topics and “have all the pertinent facts at hand.”
“I want to show all kinds of opinions so that we can all figure out what’s going on and not just about Covid, about everything about health, about fitness, wellness, the state of the world,” Rogan said. Rogan portrayed himself as a figure who is just having interesting conversations, but at the same time he disputed the basic concept of misinformation.
He claimed that changes in scientific opinion — for example about the effectiveness of cloth masks or the origins of the virus — have previously been viewed as misinformation and couldhave been banned on social media.
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.”