Podcaster Joe Rogan has threatened to cancel his $200million Spotify deal if ‘he has to walk on eggshells,’ months after a boycott by artists who pulled their music from the streaming platform over his COVID-19 comments and use of racial slurs.
During a Tuesday airing of The Joe Rogan Experience, guest and MMA fighter Josh Barnett, 44, said he was worried he’d be judged for ‘every little thing’ that he said in the podcast.
‘There’s more people pouring over it but it’s the same thing. I do it the same way,’ Rogan told him.
‘If I become something different because it grew bigger, I will quit. If it gets to a point that I can’t do it anymore, where I have to do it in some sort of weird way where I walk on eggshells and mind my p’s and q’s, f*** that!’
The podcaster signed his contract with the streaming platform, then valued at $100million, in 2020. The deal will go through 2023 – likely until May of that year.
A music law attorney told DailyMail.com on Wednesday that Rogan could be liable for breach of contract if he decides to break his deal with Spotify.
‘It seems that there could be a large amount of money involved here in the event of a breach of the agreement by either (or both) parties, which could make a lawsuit worthwhile,’ entertainment lawyer Cassandra Spangler told DailyMail.com.
‘It would also be interesting to know whether there is anything in the contract that gives him full creative control over his podcast or whether there are terms that allow Spotify to censor or remove content based on certain standards.’
Rogan, 54, has been under fire in recent months. Critics called on the streaming service to cancel the Joe Rogan Experience host’s $200million deal for spreading ‘misinformation’ regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.
In January, a group of 270 doctors and scientists signed an open letter to Spotify accusing Rogan of pushing ‘anti-vax misinformation’ and branding him a ‘menace to public health’.
After Spotify didn’t respond to the letter, musicians Neil Young and Joni Mitchell led a boycott and pulled their music from the streaming platform.
Spotify eventually launched content advisory warnings on episodes that include discussion about COVID-19 on a rolling basis.
Then in February, clips resurfaced from Rogan’s podcast in which he used the N-word over 20 times. He later apologized, calling it ‘the most regretful and shameful thing I’ve ever had to talk about publicly.’
‘It looks f***ing horrible. Even to me,’ Rogan said. ‘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. I haven’t said it in years.’
During a Tuesday airing of the record-breaking The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Rogan said he would quit his $200million Spotify deal if he felt like he had ‘to walk on eggshells,’ after guest Josh Barnett (right) said he was worried he’d be judged for ‘every little thing’ that he said in the record-breaking podcast
Barnett advised his longtime podcaster friend that he need to remain himself despite the huge media attention placed on his controversial podcast
On Tuesday, Barnett advised his longtime podcaster friend that he needed to remain himself despite the huge media attention placed on his controversial podcast.
Rogan agreed: ‘This requires sincerity, without it, this show doesn’t have any success.’
Barnett went on to argue that often times Rogan isn’t criticized for the actual content of his podcast but rather because biased people have already ‘framed up’ who he is.
‘[Ninety-nine] percent of everyone’s complaint on you, any criticism, is essentially – they’re levying an insincerity – they’re putting insincerity on you. That’s really what it is,’ Barnett said.
‘But the thing is when you do something like that, because it’s a good thing, because its intrigues you and you like it, it resonates with people because they’re so starving for that.’
In February, Rogan spoke out against allegations of ‘spreading COVID misinformation’ on his Spotify show.
Spotify has removed 113 episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience – with most episodes that have been taken down recorded involving far-right commentators.
The podcaster was supported by some conservative media figures who pledged to defend his freedom of speech.
Donald Trump Jr condemned ‘the woke mob’ for trying to cancel Rogan.
Conservative commentator and Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiro also voiced his support for Rogan and accused the left of using his later racial slurs controversy to ‘destroy a guy who doesn’t carry water for those with institutional power.’
The President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, who has been largely criticized for his vaccine skepticism and the way he’s governed the country throughout the pandemic, also backed Rogan on the social media platform.
Rogan, 54, has been under fire in recent months. Critics have called on the streaming service to cancel the Joe Rogan Experience host’s $200million deal for spreading misinformation regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and using racial slurs in the past
The temperature was turned up further when Grammy-winning R&B singer India Arie posted problematic clips of Rogan saying the n-word, while explaining why she decided to part ways with the world’s most popular streaming service and calling for her followers to ‘delete Spotify.’
Arie posted a barrage of more than 20 clips of the longtime UFC commentator using the slur on his podcast over the years, on several separate occasions, to her nearly 1 million followers. The clips were posted to YouTube before Rogan signed with Spotify in 2020.
Rogan, in an Instagram video, responded to the resurfaced clip by admitting ‘it looks f***ing horrible. Even to me.’
He reportedly decided to remove several episodes of the show to coincide with his apology.
Rogan claimed the video consisted of ‘out of context’ bits from his long-running show, but was ‘the most regretful and shameful thing I’ve ever had to talk about publicly.’
The comedian argued that he was fascinated by the slur and often used it when quoting stand-up routines from the likes of Red Foxx and Lenny Bruce.
‘It’s a very unusual word, but it’s not my word to use,’ he said. ‘I never used it to be racist, because I’m not racist, but whenever you’re in a situation where you have to say ‘I’m not racist,’ you’ve f***ed up, and I clearly have f***ed up,’ Rogan said in early February.
Spotify’s market value dropped by around $2bn after singers Neil Young (left) and Joni Mitchell (right) removed their music from the platform in protest against its decision to host the Joe Rogan Experience
Arie joined a number of other artists who have elected to remove their music from the service because of comments made by Rogan on his podcast.
Most notably, renowned singer-songwriter Neil Young announced his exit from the service, citing ‘misinformation’ Rogan has spread about COVID-19, with artists like Joni Mitchell and Graham Nash also following suit.
Arie added that Young voicing his concerns encouraged her to come forward with her own complaints.
The resulting boycotts from the multiple musicians that have followed Young’s example saw Spotify lose $4billion in market during the first week of February.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek first responded to the controversy surrounding Rogan’s comments regarding COVID and vaccines against the deadly virus in an official statement in January, saying Spotify would be adding COVID-19 content advisories to all podcast episodes that cover the virus.
Ek pushed back at employees demanding Rogan be ousted from the service’s catalog, saying the controversial podcaster is vital to the platform’s future and it’s not the company’s place to ‘dictate the discourse’ of his show.
‘There are many things that Joe Rogan says that I strongly disagree with and find very offensive,’ Ek said at a company town hall.
But ‘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.’
Rogan publicly addressed the controversy earlier this year in a post discussing ‘some of the controversy that’s been going on over the past few days.’
He told fans on Instagram: ‘I don’t always get it right. I will do my best to try to balance out these more controversial viewpoints with other people’s perspectives so we can maybe find a better point of view.’
JOE ROGAN’S LONG LIST OF CONTROVERSIES
Controversial remarks on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast
After his COVID-19 controversy, Spotify removed 113 episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience – with most episodes that have been taken down recorded before his recent COVID-19 controversy and involving far-right commentators.
In one episode early into the coronavirus pandemic, Rogan boasted about his ability to obtain then-coveted COVID tests as angry fans called him out. At the time, it was very difficult to obtain tests.
Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes once appeared on Rogan’s show where he argued that people who are Muslim are inbred. Rogan has also defended McInnes and the Proud Boys in a number of episodes which have now been removed from Spotify
Rogan also called MMA fighter Fallon Fox ‘a f**king man’ after she had transitioned in 2006.
Among the episodes removed are ones containing guests that have proved to be the most controversial, particularly conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of InfoWars.
Jones had been banned by Spotify from appearing in content on the platform for creating ‘hate content’ but Rogan interviewed him anyway and uploaded the interview to Spotify – earning a swift backlash for letting him spread misinformation.
Alex Jones (left) had been banned by Spotify from appearing in content on the platform for creating ‘hate content’ but Rogan interviewed him anyway. The episodes have all been removed. Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes (right) once appeared on Rogan’s show where he argued that people who are Muslim are inbred
COVID-19 misinformation accusations
Hundreds of doctors and scientists signed an open letter to Spotify in January accusing Joe Rogan of pushing ‘anti-vax misinformation’ on his podcast – with one branding him a ‘menace to public health’.
A total of 270 experts and medical professionals called on the streaming giant to adopt a misinformation policy after the comedian hosted the controversial Dr Robert Malone in December.
During a three-hour and six-minute interview on the now-viral episode #1757 of The Joe Rogan Experience, Malone compared the US to Nazi Germany and said today’s society was suffering from a ‘mass formation psychosis’ over the use of vaccines.
Joni Mitchell and Neil Young pull their music from Spotify
Joni Mitchell joined Neil Young in late January in removing her music from Spotify in protest against their promotion of Joe Rogan’s vaccine-skeptic views.
The singer, 78, said she was standing ‘in solidarity’ with Young took down his songs after Spotify decided to keep carrying The Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
The Big Yellow Taxi hitmaker said the streaming giant was allowing ‘irresponsible people’ to spread lies that were ‘costing people their lives’.
Use of racial slurs and accusations of racism
Singer India Arie said in February that she would be leaving Spotify, citing the platform’s hosting of Rogan’s podcast and his ‘language around race’ as the reasons why she pulled her music from the platform.
In total, Rogan utters the word 24 times in 23 separate clips, which were recorded before the host left his longtime platform on YouTube for a $200million exclusive deal with Spotify in 2020.
‘You know, the n***** thing,’ the former Fear Factor host can be heard saying in one of the snippets of the slur-filled supercut.
‘Boy, he’s a n*****,’ Rogan says in another snippet recorded on an old set of his long-running podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience – now the most listened to program on the Swedish streaming service.
‘He shouldn’t even be uttering the word,’ Arie asserts after airing the contentious compilation. ‘Don’t even say it, under any context. Don’t say it. That’s where I stand. I have always stood there.’
Arie offered her followers another explicit clip of the longtime comedian, where he jokingly referred to a movie theater in a predominantly black neighborhood as ‘Planet of the Apes.’
In a series of videos and text posts in February, India Arie explained that she did not want her work to help fund Rogan, and chided Spotify for continuing to support him
In the snippet, Rogan can be heard telling two of his guests about an occasion when he took a cab with a friend to a movie theater airing ‘Planet of the Apes’ in a neighborhood the podcaster categorized as having ‘no white people.’
In the clip, Rogan recalls how he told the cabbie to take him to a theater he had never been to, to which the driver agrees.
”Is that in a good neighborhood?” Rogan remembers asking.
‘He goes, ‘yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,’ – the guy barely speaks English,’ Rogan says, mimicking a foreign accent when recounting what the driver said.
He continues: ‘He takes us there, we get out, and we’re giggling, ‘We’re going to see Planet of the Apes!’ – and we walk into The Planet of the Apes. We walked into Africa. We walked in the door and there was no white people.’