Spotify’s CEO apologizes to employees over Joe Rogan controversy

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek wrote a new memo regarding the controversies tied to Joe Rogan and his podcast, the Joe Rogan Experience. Ek apologized to the company’s employees for engaging in culture wars.

Last February, popular podcaster Joe Rogan made headlines when a video compilation of him saying a racial slur emerged online. This caused huge controversy and the 54-year-old podcaster was repeatedly attacked. Some musicians such as Neil Young and Joni Mitchell removed their music from Spotify as a protest.

In May 2020, audio streaming platform Spotify paid Joe Rogan over $200 million to exclusively host the podcast on their platform. Despite the controversy, Spotify decided to not silence Rogan. According to their editorial rules, the platform also couldn’t tell him what content he should create or who he should be talking to.

Previously, news spread that Daniel Ek informed staff that the platform cannot actively tell content creators what to publish.

“Spotify doesn’t approve Rogan’s guest list. They don’t look at his content until it goes up, and so they don’t have editing power. They just look at it after it’s already on the platform and remove it if it doesn’t meet guidelines.” Ek said according to one of the employees.

Recently, Daniel Ek wrote a memo to Spotify employees to apologize about the controversy. The 39-year-old also convinced his employees that Rogan’s trouble has nothing to do with them.

“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. Not only are some of Joe Rogan’s comments incredibly hurtful, I want to make clear that they do not represent the values of this company.” Ek wrote in a memo obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

In the same memo, Ek also revealed that Spotify had confronted Rogan about his history of using racial slurs in his podcast, which led Rogan to remove some episodes from the streaming platform and apologize for his actions.