Joe Rogan sent some seriously mixed signals on free expression in recent months.
The podcast superstar vowed to maintain editorial control over the “Joe Rogan Experience” after accepting a massive check from Spotify to join its platform.
The audio giant quickly put that vow to the test, memory holing a number of classic “JRE” episodes with controversial figures like conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Rogan stayed quiet.
Then, a gaggle of woke Spotify employees demanded editorial say over new and existing Rogan episodes, sparking a series of meetings with Spotify CEO Daniel Ek. Some workers even threatened to strike over the matter.
Again, Rogan said nothing.
Finally, the podcaster reacted to the cancellation attempt. First, he said he hadn’t directly heard of any strike talk behind-the-scenes at Spotify. The martial arts guru followed that up by applying some pressure to his critics.
“Now, is there someone at Spotify that’s complaining about the Abigail Shrier episode? I’m sure. I’m sure there’s someone who’s complaining about it. Is it a transphobic episode? It’s not. They’re wrong. It’s nothing to do with that. It has to do with the fact that human beings are actually malleable. We all know that. That’s why cults exist….
And if you have a problem with people saying terrible s*** and you work for Spotify, maybe you should listen to some of the lyrics. Okay, cus some of the lyrics and some of the f***ing music that you guys play over and over and over again makes my s*** pale in comparison.”
“But I get it, you’re a 23-year-old woke kid and you’re working for this company and you think you’re gonna put your foot down, I get it.”
The comedian and UFC commentator saved his biggest counterpunch for this week, though.
The latest “Joe Rogan Experience” episode features comedian Tim Dillon and Jones, founder of the Infowars conspiracy media hub.
Yes, that Alex Jones.
Rogan has his pick of virtually any guest on the planet at this point. In recent days he chatted with Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey and rapper/presidential candidate Kanye West.
He clearly can select who he pleases to share a podcast microphone, and it pleased Rogan to bring Jones back on the show. The host reportedly fact-checked Jones throughout their conversation, to the best of his ability via speedy Web searches.
Woke Nation is still gnashing its teeth over the episode. Then again, so are news reporters.
The Guardian quickly fired off a request from Rogan’s camp for comment. The liberal outlet isn’t happy about Jones’ return visit to the show.
Spotify did not return a request for comment on whether it exercises editorial control over Rogan’s podcast or whether it took responsibility for Jones’ comments about vaccines on a show it funded.
TechCrunch struck a similar note, all but hoping Spotify will start censoring Rogan … and fast.
For now, Spotify is not saying anything in response to this publicly. We’ve tried to reach out to the company to get a response to questions about the show, and we will update if we hear back. We’ve had nothing for hours, and a colleague who asked the same questions months ago never heard back either. So we’re not holding our breath.
The far-left BuzzFeed also slammed Jones’ appearance, playing up those critical of Jones’ return.
Outside of the leaked email, Spotify spokespeople have remained silent in the face of the public outcry about Jones’ appearance.
Variety also stamped its cyber feet that the platform is allowing the Rogan-Jones exchange.
A Spotify spokesperson declined to comment, and neither YouTube nor Apple has commented on the “JRE” episode with Jones.
Why have the platforms not taken down the Jones episode of the “Joe Rogan Experience” — especially given that Spotify, Apple and YouTube have previously banned the Infowars founder from their platforms?
The far-left Hollywood site makes its stance on free expression abundantly clear.
Still, the ongoing controversy surrounding Rogan’s podcast will likely continue to be a headache for Spotify. Last month, Spotify employees challenged CEO Daniel Ek in an internal town-hall meeting over a recent “JRE” podcast featuring anti-trans personality and author Abigail Shrier, according to a report by Vice’s Motherboard.
It’s worth noting that very few journalists backed up The New York Post after Big Tech suppressed its blockbuster story on the Biden family.
Most press outlets peddled the Russia collusion hoax sans apology for years without any significant repercussions … or mea culpas. That seems far more important than a one-and-done chat with a conspiracy minded talker who we know not to take seriously.
Rogan didn’t get to the top of the podcasting world by playing it safe. He thrives on open conversation, chats that often reach the three-hour mark. And inviting Jones back on his show clearly isn’t about vaccine information or related topics.
He’s sending a message to his detractors. This is my show, and I call the shots.