Joe Rogan is disputing reports that his show is being censored by Spotify. Since his show became an exclusive to the streamer on Sept. 1 there have been several reports that Spotify staffers were demanding more editorial control over The Joe Rogan Experience. But Rogan says management has said nothing to him.
“They haven’t said anything to my manager; they haven’t said anything to me. They’ve said nothing,” he said on his show last week. “They’ve apparently had meetings. But they have a lot of meetings. They have meetings about all sorts of shows. They have meetings about the music they have.”
The podcaster and UFC commentator said Spotify is an “open-minded company” that is allowing him to produce his show as it has in the past. “In terms of them silencing me,” said Rogan, “there’s been nothing.”
On his show, Rogan was also critical of people inside Spotify that have pushed for management to mute some of his more controversial opinions and guests. “You work for Spotify, maybe you should listen to some of the lyrics. “Maybe you should listen to some of the lyrics because some of the lyrics in some of the music you guys play over and over and over again makes my [show] pale in comparison.”
Last month controversial episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience disappeared from the program’s back catalog as the podcast makes its move to Spotify. The episodes featured Rogan’s conversations with Alex Jones, David Seaman, Owen Benjamin, Stefan Molyneux, Milo Yiannopoulos, and disgraced comedian Chris D'Elia, among others.
But Spotify has so far refused to pull a recent show featuring Abigail Shrier, author of the book, “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters.” She suggested during her appearances that young women should not receive gender reassignment treatments and surgeries. Several Spotify staffers pushed back, saying the episode promoted transphobia. But management rejected their calls to pull the episode down, saying Rogan’s show did not violate any of the company’s content guidelines. The offended employees threatened to strike or protest in a highly-publicized walkout, but so far neither has occurred.
Spotify paid a reported $100 million for the exclusive rights to Rogan’s show. That program and the host himself are billed as free, uncensored speech zones and the company may be hesitant to take too much control otherwise it could undermine the reputation of the podcast in which it has invested so much. Contract terms of Spotify’s deal with Rogan have not been made public, but when the arrangement was announced in May, Rogan suggested it was he – not the streamer – that had control.
“It will be the exact same show – I am not going to be an employee of Spotify; we will be working with the exact same crew” Rogan told listeners at the time. “The only difference is that it will now be available on the largest audio platform in the world.”