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Tipsheet

Spotify Scrubs More Than 70 Joe Rogan Podcast Episodes

AP Photo/Gregory Payan

More than 70 episodes of Joe Rogan's podcast, "The Joe Rogan Experience," were removed from Spotify amid calls for the audio platform to censor him over alleged COVID-19 misinformation.

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The episodes were removed without acknowledgment from Rogan or Spotify. JREMissing, a website that automatically detects when Spotify episodes are made unavailable, first discovered the deletions.

And while Rogan's podcast has become controversial recently because of conversations about the coronavirus that differ from the views of the medical establishment, all of the deleted episodes were from years ago and appear to include racially insensitive content.

In an Instagram video posted Saturday, Rogan addressed a compilation video that was recently posted online. The compilation included clips of his podcast episodes from years past in which he used a racial slur and compared a black neighborhood to the Planet of the Apes movie.

Rogan expressed regrets about using the racial slur and said that he never used the slur to offend anyone. He explained that he had previously believed that using the slur was appropriate if it was used in context. 

"There's nothing I can do to take that back," he said. "I wish I could. obviously, that's not possible. I certainly wasn't trying to be racist, and I certainly would never want to offend someone for entertainment with something as stupid as racism."

In addressing a story he previously told on his podcast about him being dropped off in a black neighborhood and comparing the area to the Planet of the Apes movie, Rogan said in his video that he was not comparing black people to apes. 

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"I did not nor would I ever say that black people are apes but it sure fucking sounded like that," Rogan said. 

News of the deleted podcast episodes comes after multiple musicians pulled their music from Spotify after the platform refused to censor Rogan's conversations with vaccine skeptics and others dissenting from the mainstream view on the pandemic.

Singer Neil Young gave Spotify an ultimatum to nix Rogan's podcast or else he would pull his music from the platform, leading the streaming service to remove Young's music. Singers Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash and India Arie are among those who later removed their music from Spotify as well.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said at a recent town hall that providing a platform for Rogan is crucial to the company's success.

"If we want even a shot at achieving our bold ambitions, it will mean having content on Spotify that many of us may not be proud to be associated with," Ek said.  "Not anything goes, but there will be opinions, ideas and beliefs that we disagree with strongly and even makes us angry or sad."

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