Spotify CEO says he won’t silence Joe Rogan over racist Planet of the Apes jokes

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has said he does not want to 'silence' controversial podcast host Joe Rogan, despite removing around 113 episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience last week.

Joe Rogan, who hosts the most popular podcast in the world, has faced heavy criticism in the last week after racist comments surfaced from an earlier episode in which Rogan used the n-word and compared an area with lots of Black people to the film 'Planet of the Apes'.

Now, Ek has condemned Rogan, but fallen short of removing the show entirely from the streaming platform.

According to The Verge, Ek said: "Not only are some of Joe Rogan’s comments incredibly hurtful — I want to make clear that they do not represent the values of this company. I know this situation leaves many of you feeling drained, frustrated and unheard.”

However, Ek said he doesn't believe "silencing Joe is the answer.

"We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but cancelling voices is a slippery slope. Looking at the issue more broadly, it’s critical thinking and open debate that powers real and necessary progress.”

Rogan issued a public apology for the comments on Instagram, where he said "there's been a lot of s**t from the old episodes of the podcast that I wish I hadn't said, or had said differently."

The controversy has proved difficult to handle for Spotify, which bought the rights to the Joe Rogan Experience for around $100 million (£74m) in 2020.

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Spotify also landed in hot water last month after Rogan's show was accused of spreading vaccine misinformation.

270 scientists, healthcare professionals, doctors and professors wrote to the streaming giant in an open letter, saying they were worried that his podcast included information that might not be true about medical matters.

Canadian singer Neil Young then threatened to pull his songs from the platform if Joe Rogan was not removed.

Young said: “I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform … They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”

As a result, Neil Young's music is now no longer available on Spotify in what could be seen as a demonstration of the streaming platform's priorities.

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