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Joe Rogan apologizes to Spotify and musicians amid boycott over his podcast

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Joe Rogan
Vivian Zink | SYFY | NBCUniversal

Podcaster Joe Rogan has apologized to Spotify, while also addressing the controversy around his podcast. Musicians Neil Young and Joni Mitchell recently boycotted the service for continuing to host “The Joe Rogan Experience, which has been accused by medical professionals of spreading Covid misinformation. Both musicians have since pulled their music libraries from Spotify.

“I want to thank Spotify for being so supportive during this time and I’m very sorry that this is happening to them and that they’re taking so much heat from it,” Rogan said Sunday. He also apologized to Young and Mitchell.

In a nearly 10-minute long video posted on Instagram, Rogan said he is open to changes to the show such as booking more mainstream experts after having controversial ones and doing more research on certain topics. Rogan praised Spotify for its latest decision to add content advisories to any material mentioning Covid-19, and direct its users to public health sites for more information. He also thanked the platform for its support.

Shares of Spotify were up more than 10% in early trading Monday.

“I’m not trying to promote misinformation, I’m not trying to be controversial,” Rogan added. “I’ve never tried to do anything with this podcast other than to just talk to people.”

“I do all the scheduling myself, and I don’t always get it right,” he added.

Rogan has been in hot water with accusations from medical professionals that he has repeatedly spread conspiracy theories about Covid-19. Spotify has also been under fire for hosting the episodes. It bought the exclusive streaming rights to “The Joe Rogan Experience” in a deal reportedly worth more than $100 million.

Earlier this month, 270 medical professionals wrote an open letter to the streaming giant asking it to take action against Rogan’s podcast, accusing the company of broadcasting misinformation.

Rogan has repeatedly used its platform, with millions of listeners, to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic and vaccinations, once saying that young adults don’t need to get a shot.

“If you’re a healthy person, and you’re exercising all the time, and you’re young, and you’re eating well … like, I don’t think you need to worry about this,” he said in an April episode of his podcast. But, Rogan added he is “not a doctor” or a “respected source of information.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, called out Rogan in April and said young people “absolutely” need to get vaccinated.

Rogan on Sunday also defended his decision to book Dr. Robert Malone, an infectious disease specialist who has become well-known among anti-vaccine Americans and was banned from Twitter for spreading Covid misinformation. Rogan in the past has also promoted the use of ivermectin to treat Covid-19, despite warnings that there’s no proof it can be effective at treating the virus.

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