Spotify’s chief content officer Dawn Ostroff told advertisers at a New York conference today that the Joe Rogan backlash had been a “real learning experience” for the company.
“We do feel that we have a responsibility to support creator expression, but also balance that creator expression with safety for our users and for our advertisers,” said Ostroff, who has been the figurehead of the podcast push for the streaming service.
The streaming giant has been under fire after Rogan, who signed a $100m deal with Spotify in 2020, aired controversial COVID-19 views on his show and drew protests from artists Neil Young and Joni Mitchell.
Young said Spotify had “become the home of life-threatening COVID misinformation.”
Around 70 episodes of Rogan’s podcast were taken down last weekend including a particularly offensive 2015 discussion with far-right commentator Chuck Johnson, in which Johnson claimed that black people have a “proclivity to violence.”
“We have been speaking to Joe Rogan and to his team about some of the content … of his shows, particularly his history of racially insensitive language, and Joe decided to take episodes off of our platform,” Ostroff added.
Spotify’s Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek said in a recent letter to staff seen by Reuters that he condemns racial slurs and other comments made by Rogan but would not be removing him from the platform.
Ostroff called “the dilemma of moderation versus censorship” the biggest challenge facing “every single platform today.”
She also urged advertisers to participate and help in the company’s evolution, saying “we really want to be able to be good partners.”