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Spotify boss “strongly condemns” Joe Rogan using racial slurs

It comes after CEO Ek told investors it was "too early to know" how recent controversy had impacted the streaming platform

By Hollie Geraghty

Spotify boss Daniel Ek
Spotify boss Daniel Ek (Picture: YouTube/Spotify).

Spotify boss Daniel Ek has said he “strongly condemns” Joe Rogan’s use of racial slurs, but believes that “silencing” him is not the answer, according to an internal message sent to employees.

It comes after 70 of the ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ episodes were removed from the streaming service, with the total number of deleted episodes reaching 113, according to tracking website

In a viral clip shared by singer India.Arie, the podcaster was shown using the N-word in numerous episodes, also describing a Black neighbourhood as “Planet of the Apes”.

Rogan yesterday apologised in an Instagram video, saying it was “the most regretful and shameful thing I’ve had to talk about publicly.”

He also addressed the compilation video and said the clips were “taken out of context” from over twelve years of conversations.

“I know that to most people, there is no context where a white person is ever allowed to say that word, never mind publicly on a podcast, and I agree with that now,” he continued.

“Instead of saying the N-word, I would just say the word. I thought as long as it was in context, people would understand what I was doing.”

Ek continued in the memo that there should be “clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but cancelling voices is a slippery slope”, according to The Verge.

“Looking at the issue more broadly, it’s critical thinking and open debate that powers real and necessary progress,” he continued.

He added that he believes Spotify is a platform rather than a publisher, but acknowledged that others might think otherwise since it has a licensing agreement with Rogan.

The Spotify boss then said he was committing $100m (£73.8m) to licensing, developing and marketing music and audio content from historically marginalised groups.

Last week, Daniel Ek told investors that it’s “too early to know” how the controversy over Joe Rogan’s podcast has impacted the streaming platform.