For years, Joe Rogan has had it good. He went from NewsRadio alum and former host of a show where people ate bugs to hosting the most popular podcast in the world. He’s said whatever he liked, sometimes about subjects he didn’t know that much about. He’s even recklessly spread COVID misinformation and sang the praises of a drug also used to deworm horses. But in the last couple weeks, his life has stopped being so carefree.
Spotify, which has exclusive rights to The Joe Rogan Experience, has long been under fire from scientists, who begged the streamer to do something, anything about its biggest star spreading dangerous nonsense. But it took Neil Young to turn the tides. After the legendary rock god demanded his music be taken down in protest, other followed suit. Rogan apologized twice, first for making a once-in-a-century public health crisis worse, then, on Saturday, for old episodes in which he repeatedly used the N-word.
Now, as per Variety, Spotify, which already pledged to put warnings on any podcast episodes discussing COVID, has done something: On Friday, they yanked 70 episodes of Rogan’s show, ranging from 2009 to 2018 — all from before the pandemic began. Spotify brass haven’t revealed the motives behind their decision, so it’s unclear if they are related to general misinformation or if they involved him dropping the aforementioned epithet.
Rogan, in addressing the N-word controversy, called it “the most regretful and shameful thing I’ve ever had to talk about publicly,” and explained that he had mistakenly assumed he didn’t need to censor the word when addressing it in non-racist ways. “It’s a very unusual word, but it’s not my word to use,” he said. “I never used it to be racist, because I’m not racist, but whenever you’re in a situation where you have to say ‘I’m not racist,’ you’ve f–ked up, and I clearly have f–cked up.”
Still, that leaves about 1700 episodes still lurking on Spotify’s coffers.