Spotify CEO Defends Keeping Transphobic Joe Rogan Episodes

"The fact that we aren't changing our position doesn't mean we aren't listening," he said. "It just means we made a different judgment call"

Joe Rogan
Joe Rogan announcing UFC 249 back in May
Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

When Joe Rogan’s The Joe Rogan Experience podcast hit Spotify at the beginning of this month, it was notably missing several episodes with controversial guests like Alex Jones, Gavin McInnes and Milo Yiannopoulos. But several episodes featuring transphobic comments from Rogan and his guests have been left up on the streaming service, and as Vice reports, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek recently defended the decision to keep those episodes in an all-hands meeting at the company.

“In the case of Joe Rogan, a total of 10 meetings have been held with various groups and individuals to hear their respective concerns,” Ek reportedly said, according to three anonymous sources who were present in the meeting. “And some of them want Rogan removed because of things he’s said in the past.”

“Others have concerns specifically over a recent episode,” Ek continued. “And Joe Rogan and the episode in question have been reviewed extensively. The fact that we aren’t changing our position doesn’t mean we aren’t listening. It just means we made a different judgment call.”

The episode Ek was referring to is one in which Rogan interviewed Abigail Shrier, author of the book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters. Her book has been widely criticized as being entirely baseless; Shrier associates transgender youth with those with autism and claims that young people are being pressured by the media into transitioning, calling it a “contagion.”

“At Spotify, we are strongly committed to the LGBTQ+ community and diversity in all of its forms,” a Spotify spokesperson told Vice in a statement. “All employees are respected and we believe that everyone has a right to be heard. We have a number of forums for open and transparent discussion and we encourage rigorous debate on topics across the company.  All content on Spotify is subject to our long-standing content guidelines. Our diverse team of experts reviewed the content in question and determined that it did not meet the criteria for removal from our platform.”

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