Updated Feb 5, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Joe Rogan apologizes for using racial slurs


Photo: Michael Schwartz/WireImage

Joe Rogan, the popular podcaster whose anti-vaccination remarks have sparked protests against Spotify, apologized on Saturday via an Instagram post for repeatedly using racial slurs in the past.

Why it matters: The admission follows a weeklong public relations crisis for Spotify over the way it moderates content, specifically Rogan’s podcast, which they pay to exclusively distribute.

Driving the news: A new report out Saturday from The New York Times suggests Spotify quietly removed dozens of previous episodes of Rogan's podcast.

The latest: A person familiar with the situation said Rogan decided to remove certain episodes from Spotify in conjunction with his apology after having conversations with Spotify about concerns around episodes.

  • All of the podcasts removed were recorded before Spotify’s exclusive deal with Rogan was brokered in 2020, according to the source familiar with the situation.

In a caption posted alongside his Instagram apology, Rogan wrote, “There’s been a lot of (expletive) from the old episodes of the podcast that I wish I hadn’t said, or had said differently.”

  • The New York Times cited the fan website JRE Missing, which called out the missing episodes.

The big picture: Rogan is by far Spotify’s most popular podcaster, attracting millions of downloads per episode, but his brash personality has at times caused Spotify content moderation headaches.

  • Last week, Spotify released its content moderation policies in light of multiple artists, most notably Neil Young, saying they would boycott the platform unless Spotify addressed misinformation from Rogan.
  • CEO Daniel Ek addressed the situation later on the company’s earnings call saying, "the important part here is that we don't change our policies based on one creator nor do we change it based on any media cycle or call from anyone else."
  • He noted that Spotify policies are written by internal and external experts and that Rogan "also has to abide by those policies."

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details throughout.

Go deeper