Just after Spotify deleted about 70 episodes of Joe Rogan’s podcast without giving an explanation, Rogan posted a video to Instagram apologizing for saying the N-word on his show in the past (via New York Times). In his apology, Rogan specifically focuses on a clip compilation, shared by singer India Arie, in which Rogan repeatedly says the N-word during podcast episodes over several years.
“I know for most people there’s no context where a white person is ever allowed to say that word, let alone publicly on a podcast, and I agree with that now,” says Rogan. “Instead of saying the N-word, I’d just say the word. I thought people would understand what I was doing as long as it was in context.”
Spotify still hasn’t confirmed Rogan’s racist comments as the reason it made dozens of its episodes. The edge contacted Spotify with a request for comment, but did not immediately hear back.
Rogan says the clips were “taken out of context” and that he used the N-word when talking about comedians, such as Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx and Lenny Bruce, who used the word in the past. He also apologizes for another clip comparing being in an area with a high population of black people to the movie Planet of the Apes, and says he told the story “immediately after” calling it “a racist statement.” According to Rogan, he chose to remove that episode because it was “awkward.”
After removing her music from @Spotify, @indiaarie doubled her decision alongside clips from @joerogan using racist language: “They take this money from music streaming and pay this guy $100 million and pay us .003% of a cent [per stream]? Get me off!”
TW: n-word pic.twitter.com/wvzqh4OnB0
— Omid Scobie (@scobie) February 3, 2022
Arie shared the compilation on her Instagram story a few days after she announced her departure from Spotify. Arie leaves Spotify along with artists Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren in protest against Rogan’s podcast. But unlike Young, Mitchell and Lofgren, who are protesting the podcast about the potential spread of misinformation about COVID-19, Arie says she is troubled by Rogan’s “language around race.”
Spotify has faced a growing response to its dealings with Rogan’s podcast, which it hosts exclusively after it struck a $100 million deal with Rogan in 2020. Critics, including dozens of medical and scientific professionals, argue that Spotify is addressing the apparent COVID-19 misinformation in Rogan’s podcast, which includes a suggestion that healthy young adults should not be vaccinated. Spotify later responded by putting warning labels on episodes that talk about COVID.