Popular podcaster and dude-bro cult leader Joe Rogan has been using his massive platform to unapologetically spread COVID-19 misinformation under the guise of “just asking questions” for a minute now. Neil Young threatening to pull his music from Spotify over it probably didn’t have the impact he hoped it would, but it did open the flood gates, and now India Arie has broken an entire levy over Rogan’s head by reminding us that he has said plenty of racist sh** too and pulling music people under 60 will miss.
So now Rogan has apologized, at least for his flagrant use of the n-word, and Spotify’s CEO has apologized to his staff for the controversy in general.
According to CNBC, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has apologized to his employees for the impact the Rogan controversy has had on them. It’s not clear why he’s apologizing to the staff or how the drama has affected them. Maybe there’s been a lot of water-cooler talk about it in the office and the debates have been hell on company morale. Maybe removing 70 episodes of the podcast from the platform was more work than some employees thought it was worth. Or maybe Spotify employees just want more done about Rogan’s racism.
In fact, Ek appeared to touch on that last possibility a bit.
“There are no words I can say to adequately convey how deeply sorry I am for the way The Joe Rogan Experience controversy continues to impact each of you,” he wrote in a note to staff a Spotify spokesperson provided to CNBC. “Not only are some of Joe Rogan’s comments incredibly hurtful—I want you 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.”
Ek went on to continue passively apologizing on Rogan’s behalf before making it clear that none of it means Rogan would be getting the boot.
“While I strongly condemn what Joe has said and I agree with his decision to remove past episodes from our platform, I realize some will want more,” Ek continued. “And I want to make one point very clear—I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer. We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but canceling voices is a slippery slope.”
Sometimes I really feel like people just love using the term “slippery slope” as a crutch whenever they don’t want to do something. I mean, if the slope begins with banning people with a history of racial insensitivity, many would say that’s a slope it’s OK to slip and slide all over.
If Ek doesn’t want to ditch Rogan because his podcast is popular AF and the only thing that would slip from the slope is traffic, he should just say that.
Anyway, Ek came up with his own alternative to, simply removing Rogan from Spotify.
“Ek said Spotify will instead invest $100 million for the licensing, development, and marketing of music and audio content from historically marginalized groups,” CMBC reported.
This move might have something to do with the fact that part of Arie’s reasoning for pulling her music from the streaming service was about Black people pioneering the music that made and those artists aren’t seeing the financial benefit from it while Rogan is raking it all in while disparaging Black people.
“Spotify is built on the back of the music streaming,” Arie said. “They take this money that’s built from streaming, and they pay this guy $100 million, but they pay us 0.003% of a penny. Just take me off. I don’t want to generate money that pays this.”
Unfortunately, we seem to be still at a place where Black women have to do all the hard labor to get sh** done and hold people accountable.