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Everything you need to know about Joe Rogan's Spotify controversy over COVID-19 misinformation

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·30-min read
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Neil Young's Jan. 24 announcement that he wanted his music off the streaming service Spotify because it hosts Joe Rogan's podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, continues to have a ripple effect. After Young cited Rogan's show for "spreading false information about vaccines," other celebrities, as well as the streamer itself, have reacted, with some following Young's lead.

Here's the latest, which we'll update with new developments.

Samuel L. Jackson says Rogan’s use of the n-word was 'wrong'

The Pulp Fiction star didn't buy Rogan's apology for having repeatedly said the racial slur. "He is saying nobody understood the context when he said it," Jackson told the Times of London for a Feb. 26 story. "But he shouldn't have said it. It's not the context, dude — it's that he was comfortable doing it. Say that you're sorry because you want to keep your money, but you were having fun and you say you did it because it was entertaining." Jackson, who insisted that Leonardo DiCaprio, his co-star in the 2012 slavery movie Django Unchained, use the word to play a slave owner, explained that this situation was different. "It needs to be an element of what the story is about," Jackson said. "A story is context — but just to elicit a laugh? That's wrong."

Ava DuVernay leaves the platform

While it was announced last year that the Oscar-nominated director had entered a deal to produce first-look content for Spotify, that's not the case anymore. The New York Times reported Feb. 17 that DuVernay's production company, Array, had, as they put it, "severed her ties with Spotify."

India.Arie has spoken out against Joe Rogan and Spotify. (Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for BET)
India.Arie has spoken out against Joe Rogan and Spotify. (Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for BET)

India.Arie talks about the reaction to her comments on Spotify and Joe Rogan

Speaking with Trevor Noah on The Daily Show, the singer explained that she hadn't foreseen the reaction to her comments on Spotify and Rogan. "I didn't expect anyone to listen, because I'm used to this certain type of treatment from the industry where they don't listen. They don't listen to what I say in the song. They don't listen when I say that there's mistreatment. I say it, but they don't listen," she said Feb. 14. "And so, to be honest, that made it easier to say over the years, because I’m like, 'Well, I can say whatever. Some people will hear it, some won't.' And so when I was sitting on my couch that day, and I made the decision that I wanted my music off [Spotify], I certainly didn't think that it was going to lead to all this." Arie said she's "still fighting" to have her music removed. In fact, some of it remained on the platform as late as Feb. 15. Yahoo Entertainment has reached out to Spotify.

Arie said she's also dealing with "wild" DMs. "All kinds of racial slurs. And misogynistic ones too. All kinds. And so that says to me that these people who want to defend Joe Rogan think that this is the right language to do it," she said. "So Joe Rogan needs to do more than go, 'Oh, yeah, I'm sorry.' He needs to… if you want to really lead your listeners down a new path, then lead them to the point where they don't feel that it’s the right language to come into my DMs and call me an N-word in defense of him."

She noted that she believes Rogan knew he should not have been using the racist language he did.

"I think that's why he was saying it, because it got a rise out of people. That's why he would say it," Arie said. "He knew that it was inappropriate. And I think the fact that he did it repeatedly and was conscious and knew, I think that is being racist."

At the same time, Arie said she doesn't think the podcaster fully understands what he did. She said he's not her enemy — "goodness no" — and that she's using this "scary moment" as "an opportunity for growth."

Paula Patton encourages followers to delete Spotify

The actress shared an image about Spotify standing by Rogan, which prompted her to look up just what he had said. "What I discovered was shocking and disturbing," the Precious star wrote Feb. 9. "Joe Rogan spoke the N word an obscene amount of times. He said when going to a Black neighborhood to watch Planet of the Apes that he felt that he had walked into Planet of the Apes. He called Black people apes." She said his rhetoric in that instance and others was "regressive" and "racist," as well as "dangerous." "When you wonder why there is so much violence used on Black people, one reason is because some people consciously or unconsciously think that a Black person is animal-like and less than them and believing that makes it much easier to kill and incarcerate them." She said that while she has discovered new artists through the streamer, she could no longer give them her money. "Standing by Joe Rogan is unacceptable. I deleted and canceled Spotify yesterday," Patton wrote. "I encourage all of you that have it to do the same. This is one small way I believe we can make change happen. We can forgive but there still needs to be consequences or nothing ever really changes."

Rogan says he plans to stick with the platform

During a stand-up performance Feb. 8 at the Vulcan Gas Co. in Austin, Texas, an audience member asked Rogan whether he planned to accept the offer to leave Spotify for right-wing platform Rumble. "No, Spotify has hung in with me, inexplicably," he answered, according to the Los Angeles Times. "Let's see what happens." He also said the compilation video of him saying the n-word had been "racist as f***," even to him. "I'm me and I'm watching it saying, 'Stop saying it!' I put my cursor over the video, and I'm like, 'Four more minutes?!'" However, Rogan also said that he hadn't used the slur in years. (Earlier in the day, on a new episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, he called the video a "political hit job," but said he did not regret his apology.)

Onstage, Rogan also acknowledged that he shouldn't be giving out medical advice. "I talk s*** for a living. That's why this is so baffling to me," Rogan said. "If you're taking vaccine advice from me, is that really my fault? What dumb s*** were you about to do when my stupid idea sounded better? 'You know that dude who made people eat animal d**** on TV? How does he feel about medicine?' If you want my advice, don't take my advice."

Brené Brown explains her return to podcasts

Brené Brown gave a final update on the status of her podcasts. (Photo: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Netflix)
Brené Brown gave a final update on the status of her podcasts. (Photo: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Netflix)

The author gave what she referred to as "a final update on the podcast pause" in a Feb. 8 post to social media. She explained that she had chosen to distribute her work on Spotify, because it didn't require her to read ads, and that she first shared concerns about Rogan's content with the company in 2020. "Rogan's comments about the trans community are dehumanizing, and his take on race is often degrading," she wrote. "Furthermore, the clip where Rogan is laughing with Joey Diaz as he brags about demanding sexual favors from young female comedians wanting to perform at Los Angeles' Comedy Store made me physically sick. Words matter." She noted that, as someone with an exclusive contract with Spotify, she's in "a tremendous values conflict with very few options." Still, she concluded, she'll return to her shows. "I'm going to make the best podcasts I can by talking about the issues that I think matter," Brown wrote. Upcoming episodes will feature conversations "with ACLU attorney Ben Wizner about free speech, misinformation and Big Tech oligarchs."

Howard Stern suggests Rogan warn listeners: 'I have no idea what I'm talking about'

Radio star Howard Stern, an advocate for vaccines who's criticized Rogan's podcast for COVID misinformation in the past, said the Rogan ruckus is "silly" to him, on the Feb. 8 episode of his SiriusXM show. "Even the apology; he just should've said, 'You know what? Listen, I'm a comedian... And I have no idea what I'm talking about." Stern said Rogan should make it clear that he has no medical background and should keep his apology short: "I'm wrong, and go get the vaccine before you die."

Former President Trump says Rogan should stop apologizing

"Joe Rogan is an interesting and popular guy, but he's got to stop apologizing to the Fake News and Radical Left maniacs and lunatics," Trump said in a statement on Feb. 7. "How many ways can you say you're sorry? Joe, just go about what you do so well and don't let them make you look weak and frightened. That's not you and it never will be!" On the same day, Trump's fellow Republican, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, said much the same on Fox News: "I think the left fear the fact that he can reach so many people, and so they're out to destroy him. But what I would say is don't give an inch. Do not apologize. Do not kowtow to the mob. Stand up and tell them to pound sand. If you do that, there's really nothing that they're able to do to you. The only way they have power is if you let them get your goat."

Neil Young says Spotify CEO is the real problem

In a post to his website on Feb. 7, Young addressed Spotify employees directly: "I say Daniel Ek is your big problem — not Joe Rogan. Get out of that place before it eats up your soul," he wrote. "The only goals stated by EK are about numbers — not art, not creativity." Then, Young encouraged other creators to "find a better place than SPOTIFY to be the home of your art." In the same note, he urged people to take their money out of American banks, as a way of protesting COVID misinformation and climate change.

India.Arie says she accepts Rogan's apology

While speaking to Don Lemon Feb. 7 on CNN, the singer said that she accepted Rogan's apology for having used a racial slur. "I don't think Joe Rogan is racist for using [the N-word]. I think he's insensitive for using it. So just don't," Arie said, explaining that she had long known about it, because she "had heard many episodes of his podcast." She had simply turned the show off. "As a working musician who has always had issues with Spotify, and then they bring in this Joe Rogan thing, and now it creates a thing that I can't not speak up about," she said, noting his large payday from the company. "He's not the reason, but he is the final reason." She added that "many people find it offensive" Rogan is paid so much when "the vast majority of working artists are paid so low" by streaming services in general. After Lemon asked Arie if she would like to see Rogan advocate that musicians receive better pay from streamers, she said, "it would be a beautiful thing."

Rumble attempts to lure Joe Rogan away from Spotify

On Feb. 7, tech entrepreneur Chris Pavlovski tweeted Rogan an offer to come to his smaller, yet fast-growing website that’s popular among conservatives, for similar compensation. "We stand with you, your guests and your legion of fans in desire for real conversation," he wrote in an open letter to Rogan. "How about you bring all your shows to Rumble, both new and old, with no censorship, for $100 million bucks over four years? This is our chance to save the world. And yes, this is totally legit."

Politician Andrew Yang apologizes for Rogan defense

Yang, a former Democratic presidential candidate who appeared on Rogan's show in 2019, had noted on social media Feb. 6 that the podcast host has worked with Black people in the past. "I don't think Joe Rogan is a racist — the man interacts with and works with Black people literally all of the time," he posted. However, he deleted that tweet and shared a new thread later that night, which began with this: "I like to believe the best of people — especially if I've met and spent time with that person. Sometimes it makes me miss something. I think we should have the capacity to forgive people — whether a podcaster or a mayor — if they mess up. Maybe it's because I mess up too." Yang went on to say, "Racism is real, deep, corrosive and even lethal. I know that. I made a mistake in an earlier tweet tonight that downplayed these realities" and explained that he'd deleted the tweet because "it was wrong-headed" and "hurt people," for which he apologized.

Spotify CEO says Rogan's slurs were hurtful, but he still doesn't believe in silencing him

"Incredibly hurtful." That's how Spotify CEO Daniel Ek described Rogan's previous use of racial slurs in a Feb. 6 staff memo, according to CNN Business, which received a copy from the company. Despite that, Ek said he did not think "silencing" the podcaster was the solution. He pledged an "incremental investment of $100 million for the licensing, development, and marketing of music (artists and songwriters) and audio content from historically marginalized groups." In addition, Ek said the company had been talking to Rogan and his team about the content of previous episodes. "Following these discussions and his own reflections," Ek said, "he chose to remove a number of episodes from Spotify." In all, more than 100 episodes have been removed.

Rogan apologizes for racial slurs

In response to the video of Rogan repeatedly using a racial slur, he shared a five-minute statement on Feb. 5. He said the video was "the most regretful and shameful thing I've ever had to talk about publicly" but that the clips had been taken out of context. "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," Rogan explained. "I haven't said it in years. But for a long time... 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." He now recognizes that, "It's not my word to use... 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." He also addressed part of the video in which he compared a Black neighborhood to Planet of the Apes. "I did not nor would I ever say that Black people are apes, but it sure f***in' sounded like that," he added. "It wasn't a racist story, but it sounded terrible... It looks terrible even in context." He said he wanted his error to be a teachable moment for others. "It makes me sick watching that video, but hopefully at least some of you will accept this and understand where I'm coming from," he said. "My sincere, deepest apologies, and much love."

The Rock steps back his support of Rogan

By the night of Feb. 4, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson fielded a question about his previous post backing up the podcaster. After someone commented that defending Rogan was a "terrible use" of his "power," the actor responded. "I hear you as well as everyone here 100%," he wrote. "I was not aware of his N word use prior to my comments, but now I've become educated to his complete narrative. Learning moment for me."

India.Arie shares clips of Rogan using the n-word

On Feb. 4, four days after pulling her music from Spotify, Arie returned to the subject on her Instagram Story. "Hey, y'all. I'm going to leave a short message here about why I decided to … ask my music be pulled off of Spotify," she said, according to Deadline. The singer then played clips of Rogan using a racial slur multiple times. The outlet also reported that the footage had previously been posted on YouTube and "predates his $100 million deal with Spotify in 2020."

Jon Stewart says Rogan 'overreaction' is 'a mistake'

The former host of The Daily Show offered his opinion on his podcast, The Problem With Jon Stewart, on Feb. 3, when a co-host asked for his take. "Don't leave. Don't abandon. Don't censor. Engage," he began. "I'm not saying it's always going to work out fruitfully. But I am always of the mindset that engagement, and especially with someone like a Joe Rogan, who is not, in my mind, an ideologue in any way." Stewart pointed out that Rogan had corrected himself on air before, after a guest told him he was wrong. They then looked up the answer to a question about vaccines, and confirmed that Rogan was, in fact, incorrect. Stewart asked how much misinformation is spread by Eric Clapton, for example, who is a vaccine skeptic — Stewart called the musician a 'f****** psycho' — and people remain on the same platforms as him. "There's no question that there is egregious misinformation that's purposeful and hateful and all those other things, and that being moderated is a credit to the platforms that run them," Stewart said. "But this overreaction to Rogan, I think, is a mistake."

Joe Rogan returns to Spotify

As Stewart defended Rogan, he released the first episode of the Joe Rogan Experience since the controversy began. His guest was retired Navy SEAL Andy Stumpf, a fellow podcaster who'd been on with Rogan before. They made a quick mention of the Spotify events. "I put out a video a couple days ago, other than that, not much I can do," Rogan said. "When you're hearing it from people who are losing the information attention game — people like CNN — when they're calling for other networks or shows to be censored or limited, it's like, 'Just do better.'"

Joe Rogan's popular podcast,
Joe Rogan's popular podcast, "The Joe Rogan Experience," has sparked criticism. (Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Spotify expects lower growth in the number of paid subscribers in the next quarter

The company grew its base of paid subscribers from 172 million to 180 million in the final three months of 2021, according to The Hollywood Reporter's story on Spotify's Feb. 2 earnings call. However, it projected that the number would increase more slowly, to 183 million paid subscribers, in the first quarter of 2022. Ek, the platform's CEO, said it was "too early to know" how the Rogan situation would affect cancellations and subscriptions.

Spotify boss clarifies the company's position on Rogan to employees

The same day, Ek emphasized to employees, during a companywide meeting, that it doesn't have editorial control of Joe Rogan Experience, according to The Verge. "I understand the premise that because we have an exclusive deal with him, it's really easy to conclude we endorse every word he says and believe the opinions expressed by his guests,” he reportedly said. "That's absolutely not the case." Ek explained that Rogan's show is licensed content. "We don't approve his guests in advance, and just like any other creator, we get his content when he publishes, and then we review it, and if it violates our policies, we take the appropriate enforcement actions." He noted that Spotify has removed some Rogan episodes in the past. "There are many things that Joe Rogan says that I strongly disagree with and find very offensive." However, he added, "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. Not anything goes, but there will be opinions, ideas, and beliefs that we disagree with strongly and even makes us angry or sad."

White House calls Spotify disclaimer a 'positive step'

During a Feb. 2 briefing with reporters, White House press secretary Jen Psaki addressed the Spotify situation. "Our hope is that all major tech platforms and all major news sources, for that matter, be responsible and be vigilant to ensure the American people have access to accurate information on something as significant as COVID-19," she said, according to the Washington Post. "That certainly includes Spotify. So this disclaimer, it's a positive step, but we want every platform to continue doing more to call out misinformation and disinformation while also uplifting accurate information."

Crosby, Stills Nash and Young issue a joint statement to Spotify

The band members requested that their music as a group, as well as the music of Crosby, Stills and Nash and Crosby-Nash and any member solo projects that hadn't already been removed, come down. "We support Neil and we agree with him that there is dangerous disinformation being aired on Spotify's Joe Rogan podcast," they said Feb. 2 in a joint statement. "While we always value alternate points of view, knowingly spreading disinformation during this global pandemic has deadly consequences. Until real action is taken to show that a concern for humanity must be balanced with commerce, we don't want our music — or the music we made together — to be on the same platform."

AIDS advocate Sharon Stone criticizes Rogan

The actress and winner of the Nobel Peace Summit Award for her work in fighting against another infectious disease, AIDS, had already tweeted that she planned to cancel her Spotify accounts in support of Young. But on Feb. 1, she commented further, specifically on his response to the controversy, when approached by TMZ. "Mr. Rogan is risking people's lives with his idiocy and his professing that his thoughts about COVID are opinions. They aren't opinions," Stone told the outlet on-camera. "COVID and infectious disease are science, and they are fact-based situations. So the pretense that these are opinions is dangerous, and his behavior is dangerous. And so the pretense that these are opinions and that he should put a disclaimer… he should put a disclaimer that he's an asshole."

Writer Roxane Gay removes her podcast, while Brené Brown is 'hopeful' hers will return next week

Roxane Gay joined Brené Brown in saying that her podcast would no longer be available on Spotify. "It won't move any sort of needle but I removed my podcast from Spotify," the Bad Feminist author wrote. "That's all there really is to say about that. Onward."

On the same day, Brown explained that many people had been asking her for her opinion on the controversy. She had said Jan. 29 that she would "not be releasing any podcasts until further notice," which lined up with the Rogan controversy, but did not cite it as the reason for her decision. Now she clarified, "I paused because, as a creator with two podcasts exclusively on Spotify, I wanted to better understand the organization's misinformation policy. I wanted to talk to the Spotify leadership about their position, their policies, and the application of those policies. I met with them twice last week and once again this week. I've listened, they've listened, and my assessment is that everyone is open and learning — including me."

Brown said that her original post had "turned into a s***show," with people accusing her of censoring Rogan and threatening to burn her books. She maintained that the pause was in line with her work and said she wanted a balance of "addressing the complex misinformation issues we face today while respecting free speech." Spotify's new misinformation policy, she wrote, "appears to address the majority of my concerns," and she was "in the process of learning how the policy will be applied." She was "hopeful" her podcasts would "be back next week."

More than 93K people sign a petition against Rogan

Titled, "Joe Rogan Has Got to Go," the MoveOn.Org petition had grown from just 10 signatures on Jan. 25 to more than 93,000, as of Feb. 1. Those who signed it called for Spotify to stop providing a platform for Rogan by removing his podcast entirely.

Graham Nash comes out in support of Neil Young

Count one more artist against Spotify, after Nash agrees with his former bandmate in Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. "Having heard the Covid disinformation spread by Joe Rogan on Spotify, I completely agree with and support my friend, Neil Young," he began. "There is a difference between being open to varying viewpoints on a matter and knowingly spreading false information which some 270 medical professionals have derided not only false but dangerous. Likewise there is a difference between misinformation, in which one is unaware that what is being said is false, versus disinformation which is knowingly false and intended to mislead and sway [public] opinion. In this case, in a way that could cost people their lives."

He noted that many musicians can't afford to leave the platforms they depend on to spread their music and called on the company to be more responsible.

Graham Nash speaks out. (Photo: Instagram)
Graham Nash speaks out. (Photo: Instagram)

Mary Trump pulls podcast and hopes to be ‘part of a growing avalanche’

The niece of former President Trump and host of The Mary Trump Show joined the Spotify creators leaving the platform. "I'm removing my podcast from @Spotify," she tweeted Feb. 1. "I know it's not a big deal but hope it will be part of a growing avalanche. She thanked Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren for their "courage in leading the way."

Trevor Noah weighs in on 'The Daily Show'

Noah recapped all that had been happening with Rogan and Spotify on the Jan. 31 episode of The Daily Show. While he pointed out false statements that came from the podcast, he gave Rogan credit for having people who don't agree with him on the program. He also applauded him for his response. "I actually thought it was pretty classy," Noah said, per Daily Beast, joking that he somewhat expected Rogan to say his account had been hacked. The fact that he owned up to it was "pretty dope" and "refreshing," Noah said.

'Dwayne The Rock' Johnson applauds Rogan for his 'perfectly articulated' video response

"Great stuff here brother," Johnson replied to Rogan's post. "Perfectly articulated. Look forward to coming on one day and breaking out the tequila with you." (Johnson is the founder of Teremana Tequila.)

Dwayne
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson wants to appear on Joe Rogan's podcast. (Photo: PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

India.Arie pulls her content from Spotify

"I have decided to pull my music and podcast from Spotify," Arie shared Jan. 31. "Neil Young opened a door that I MUST walk through." While the musician noted that she believes in the freedom of speech, she commented that she found Rogan problematic not just for his COVID interview but for his "language around race." She continued, "What I am talking about is RESPECT - who gets it and who doesn't. Paying musicians a Fraction of a penny? And HIM $100M? This shows the type of company they are and the company that they keep. I'm tired."

Science podcaster says Spotify's defense of Rogan 'felt like a slap in the face'

Wendy Zukerman, host of the Science Vs podcast, which promises to "blow up your firmly held opinions and replace them with science" through fact-checking, and Blythe Terrell, a show editor, shared a letter that they said they'd sent to Spotify CEO Daniel Ek. "Throughout the pandemic, Spotify has given Science Vs the resources we needed to produce accurate content about the coronavirus. For more than six months, we've been encouraging our listeners to move to Spotify and telling them that this is the company that supports us to create factual episodes that are grounded in science," they wrote in their Jan. 31 post. "Spotify's support of Joe Rogan's podcast has felt like a slap in the face." The company's new rules don't go far enough, they said. They vowed that they would not produce episodes of the show, "except those intended to counteract misinformation being spread on Spotify," until the company "implements stronger methods to prevent the spread of misinformation on the platform." They said they planned to dig into various methods that tech companies are using to combat misinformation and offered to share their findings.

Rogan promises to 'try to balance out these more controversial viewpoints'

Rogan, who reportedly has a distribution deal with the streaming giant estimated to be worth $100 million, responded to the controversy about his popular show in a 10-minute video on Jan. 30.

"I'm not trying to promote misinformation," he said. "I'm not trying to be controversial. I've never tried to do anything with this podcast other than just talk to people and have interesting conversations." While he said he sometimes gets things wrong, he said he tries to correct errors. Rogan promised to try and "balance out these more controversial viewpoints with other people's perspectives, so we can maybe find a better point of view." Still, he defended his decision to book a widely criticized guest, Dr. Robert Malone, who he said is "highly credentialed" and has an opinion "different from the mainstream narrative."

Malone, who is a COVID vaccine skeptic, was suspended from Twitter for false statements in December, and the video of his interview with Rogan that month has also been removed from YouTube.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle express concern

The famous pair joined those concerned about Spotify's stance on misinformation on Jan. 30, when they officially commented through a spokesperson: "Last April, our co-founders began expressing concerns to our partners at Spotify about the all too real consequences of COVID-19 misinformation on its platform. We have continued to express our concerns to Spotify to ensure changes to its platform are made to help address this public health crisis. We look to Spotify to meet this moment and are committed to continuing our work together as it does." The couple has an exclusive partnership with the service to host and produce podcasts that "build community through shared experience, narratives, and values."

Spotify publishes 'platform rules,' as CEO says company 'has an obligation to do more'

Also on Jan. 30, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek posted a note on the company's platform rules. "Based on the feedback over the last several weeks, it's become clear to me that we have an obligation to do more to provide balance and access to widely-accepted information from the medical and scientific communities guiding us through this unprecedented time," he wrote of the COVID-19 pandemic. "These issues are incredibly complex." Ek noted that Spotify is, among other things, working to add a content advisory to podcast episodes that discuss the virus that will point listeners to a COVID-19 information hub, which will include "easy access to data-driven facts, up-to-date information as shared by scientists, physicians, academics and public health authorities around the world, as well as links to trusted sources."

The post followed the exodus of several other content creators from the platform and a $2 billion drop in its market value.

Joni Mitchell and other content creators back Young

Brené Brown told fans Jan. 29 that she would "not be releasing any podcasts until further notice." While Brown, the host of Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead, didn't give a reason for the hiatus, the timing neatly lined up with the Rogan controversy. And many of her fans applauded the move in the comments, noting that she was choosing courage over comfort, which she has spoken about in the past.

On the same day, musician Nils Lofgren, a member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, who has played with Young, joined in asking for his music to be removed from Spotify.

Singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell was the first boldface name to do so.

The "Big Yellow Taxi" singer wrote on her website: "Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue." In addition, she shared a letter signed by hundreds of medical professionals and scientists who noted that Rogan had "repeatedly spread misleading and false claims" to his millions of listeners. They took particular issue with Malone's appearance.

(Photo: JoniMitchell.com)
(Photo: JoniMitchell.com)

When musician David Crosby was asked if he would be asking to have his own music deleted from Spotify, he answered, "I no longer control it or I would in support of Neil."

Days earlier, on Jan. 24, Young posted a since-deleted letter on his website explaining that he wanted his music off the platform, as long as it continued to carry Rogan's popular podcast. "I am doing this because Spotify is spreading false information about vaccines — potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them," he wrote. Spotify soon obliged.

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