Joe Rogan has come under fire for spreading false information about COVID-19 on his podcast. Many artists worked together to reform or remove his podcast, including Neil Young, whose music was removed from Spotify after he asked Spotify to choose between him and Joe Rogan. Spotify’s communications chief recently commented on the company’s decision.
Leaked internal Spotify messages provide insight into the company’s decision to continue airing Joe Rogan’s podcast. According to The Verge, Dustee Jenkins, Spotify’s head of global communications and public relations, raised the issue with concerned employees in an internal Slack channel on Friday.
According to screenshots of Jenkins’ message, the company reviewed multiple episodes of the podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience” but concluded they “didn’t meet the threshold for removal.”
“We apply our policies consistently and objectively. They are not influenced by the media cycle, calls from any one individual or from external partners. It doesn’t mean I personally agree with this content. But I trust our policies and the rationale behind them.”
Spotify’s internal healthcare content guidelines were also published. According to the news site, they prohibit behavior such as denying the existence of COVID-19, implying that mask-wearing causes life-threatening physical harm, and “promoting or suggesting that vaccines are designed to cause death.” Earlier this week, Neil Young, the artist behind “Heart of Gold,” demanded that Spotify remove his music from its platform due to COVID-19 misinformation.
“What Spotify hasn’t done is move fast enough to share these policies externally, and are working to address that as soon as possible.”
“Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them. They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”
A few days later, Spotify announced that it will remove Young’s music catalogue from its platform. It was stated by the company to The Wall Street Journal.
“We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon. We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users. With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators.”
Earlier this month, 270 scientists, healthcare workers, and educators signed an open letter urging Spotify to take steps to prevent misinformation from spreading on its platform. Joni Mitchell announced on Friday that she will also remove her music from Spotify due to “lies that are costing people their lives.”
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