Neil Young wants Spotify to pull his music because of Joe Rogan's vaccine misinformation on platform

·3 min read

Corrections and clarifications: A previous version of this story incorrectly characterized people who signed a letter sent to Spotify asking the service to remove The Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

Rock legend Neil Young wants Spotify to remove his music in response to the spread of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation on the platform.

In an open letter to his manager Frank Gironda and Tom Corson, co-chairman and chief operating officer of Warner Bros. Records, Young on Monday demanded his classic collection of songs be pulled due to the disinformation, and specifically called out Spotify's popular podcast host Joe Rogan.

"I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them," said Young in the letter that has since been removed online. "Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule.

"I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform,” Young continued. "They can have (Joe) Rogan or Young. Not both."

Spotify did not immediately respond to USA TODAY for comment late Monday.

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The legendary rocker accuses music platform Spotify of "spreading fake information about vaccines," and calls out popular talk show host Joe Rogan.
The legendary rocker accuses music platform Spotify of "spreading fake information about vaccines," and calls out popular talk show host Joe Rogan.

Rogan, host of "The Joe Rogan Experience," who tested positive for COVID-19 in September, had downplayed the need for mass vaccines for large events like comedy shows. Launched in 2009, Rogan's podcast is among the most popular in the United States. In 2020, Spotify acquired Rogan’s podcast library in a deal reportedly worth more than $100 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, Young, the hall of fame rocker is the latest to openly challenge Spotify about Rogan's controversial comments about the vaccines. Young's pushback comes almost a month after nearly 300 doctors, nurses, medical professionals, scientists, researchers, professors, and other professionals signed an open letter also demanding Spotify stop spreading Rogan’s commentary and "moderate misinformation on its platform."

The letter said Rogan has "repeatedly spread misleading and false claims" and "a number of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories" on his podcast, provoking distrust in science and medicine.

They also claim Rogan has discouraged vaccination in young people and children, and "incorrectly claimed that Moderna vaccines are 'gene therapy,' promoted off-label use of ivermectin" to treat COVID that's contrary to warnings by the Food and Drug Administration.

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"With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE, which is hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence," the physicians' letter said. "Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy."

Rogan's social media pages frequently mention the debate over COVID vaccines. Last year, Rogan said on Instagram to treat his symptoms he turned to ivermectin, among other treatments not approved by the FDA.

Ivermectin has been approved by the FDA for use by people and animals to treat parasitic infections, mostly in livestock. The agency has repeatedly said that using any treatment for COVID-19 that’s not approved or authorized by them, unless part of a clinical trial, "can cause serious harm."

However, vaccines are scientifically proven as the best possible method to slow the spread of the virus, medical experts say. Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also repeatedly recommended that Americans receive the vaccine.

Young is no stranger to pulling his music off Spotify. He removed his music off of the platform and other music streaming services in 2015, stating he felt their audio quality was too low. His music reappeared on those platforms the following year.

Contributing: Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Neil Young to Spotify: Remove music over Rogan vaccine misinformation