Spotify to remove Neil Young after Joe Rogan Covid misinformation row

·2-min read
Neil Young (left) will be removed from Spotify after accusing Joe Rogan (right) of spreading misinformation about Covid-19   (AP)
Neil Young (left) will be removed from Spotify after accusing Joe Rogan (right) of spreading misinformation about Covid-19 (AP)

Neil Young will be removed from Spotify after he accused Joe Rogan of spreading misinformation regarding Covid vaccines.

Rogan, a podcaster and comedian, was criticised for interviewing an infectious disease specialist who opposes Covid-19 vaccines for children.

In a now deleted letter to his management team, Young said Spotify was allowing the spread of false information regarding vaccines.

Young, 76, issued an ultimatum to Spotify claiming: ““With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE, which is hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence.

“Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy,

“They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”

In response, Spotify said it regretted Young’s decision and hoped to welcome him back to the platform in the future.

A statement from the streaming platform said on Wednesday: “We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users.

“With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators.

“We have detailed content policies in place and we’ve removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to Covid since the start of the pandemic.

“We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify but hope to welcome him back soon.”

Neil Young’s music will now be removed from the platform (AFP via Getty Images)
Neil Young’s music will now be removed from the platform (AFP via Getty Images)

In a further statement on his personal website on Wednesday, Young thanked his management team for supporting him and called on other artists to remove their own music from Spotify.

He said: “Spotify has recently become a very damaging force via its public misinformation and lies about Covid.”

Young added: “I sincerely hope that other artists and record companies will move off Spotify and stop supporting Spotify’s deadly misinformation about Covid.”

Spotify bought the rights to the hugely successful podcast The Joe Rogan Experience in 2020 for a reported £75million.

The show has since become the most popular on the platform but has been accused of fuelling conspiracy and misinformation surrounding Covid and the vaccine.

Last month Rogan, 54, interviewed Dr Robert Malone, a virologist who helped develop mRNA vaccine technology, behind several Covid vaccines.

However Dr Malone came under fire for claiming vaccination puts people who have already had Covid-19 at higher risk.

He also sparked controversy for comparing current US society to 1930s Germany and for claiming world leaders had hypnotised the public into supporting vaccines.

Twitter has banned Dr Malone and accused him of spreading misinformation.

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