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“No, Spotify has hung in with me, inexplicably, let’s see what happens,” he told a crowd during a recent standup show, per the Hollywood Reporter.
Rumble made headlines this month after it offered Rogan $100 million to move the Joe Rogan Experience podcast from Spotify—which signed him for the same amount in 2020—to its own platform. The company, backed by MAGA supporter Peter Thiel, proposed the four-year deal amid growing backlash against Rogan, who has been accused of using his exclusive series for spreading COVID-19 misinformation. The polarizing podcaster also faces mounting criticism over a number of racially insensitive comments as well as his numerous past uses of the N-word. Though Rogan has since apologized for both controversies, Spotify users and a faction of musicians have called on the company to remove Rogan’s show.
“We stand with you, your guests, and your legion of fans in desire for real conversation,” Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski wrote in the open letter to Rogan. “And yes, this is totally legit.” A tweet with the letter attached also said “we are ready to fight alongside you.”
According to Forbes, the Joe Rogan Experience attracts an estimated 11 million people per episode, making it Spotify’s most popular show. The streamer’s CEO Daniel Ek defended Rogan during an interview with the New York Times last week, saying he and his team have no intentions of cutting ties with Rogan—at least, not for now.
“In general, what I would say is, it’s too early to know what the impact [on Spotify] may be,” Ek said, per the Times. “And usually when we’ve had controversies in the past, those are measured in months and not days. But I feel good about where we are in relation to that and obviously top line trends looks very healthy still.”
Last Friday, Spotify removed 70 episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience following a resurfaced compilation video of the MMA enthusiast repeatedly using the N-word. Rogan addressed the backlash on social media, saying the clips in question were “taken out of context” but that he feels regret and shame over using the racial slur.
“I know that to most people, there’s 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,” Rogan said in the video. “But for a long time when I would bring that word up, like if it would come up in conversation, 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.”
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