Ever since the age of technology began, streaming has become an integral part of people’s source of entertainment and information. Podcasts are a medium that can be based on a multitude of different categories including news, comedy, sports, health, and offer just about any interest to a listener. The Joe Rogan Experience is undoubtedly the most trending podcast as of late, and has led to the comedian signing a massive $100 million deal with the streaming giant Spotify in 2020.
Rogan hosts varying celebrities and guests ranging from Bernie Sanders to Neil Degrasse Tyson, along with having had hundreds of guests on his show since its commencement. Covid-19 has greatly influenced his show, where talks about the vaccine and how the mandates that have come with them have ramped up. Although the varying political and scientific views of his guests are very diverse, he has come under fire for spreading misinformation, a complaint that Spotify itself is now dealing with.
Recently, Rogan had on Dr. Robert Mallone, a doctor who performed research on mRNA technology decades ago. Mallone’s research findings were some of the first information doctors turned to when attempting to synthesize a Covid-19 vaccine in 2020. On the show, Malone shared ideas about “mass formation psychosis” being the cause for people believing in the vaccine. Furthermore, he made claims about vaccinated people being more susceptible to the virus than unvaccinated.
According to Spotify, The Joe Rogan Experience has been the top podcast globally for the last two years, which adds to the growing concern that people have when it comes to the influence the show has on its listeners–the health experts in particular. This month a group of 270 medical professionals, professors, and experts wrote an open letter to the company requesting that the company take down any misinformation that may lead people to make unsafe decisions.
It would not be anything new for Spotify to take down episodes of Rogan’s podcast that contained unchecked facts. The Wall Street Journal reports that “Spotify has removed over 20,000 Covid-related podcast episodes.” A particular episode that members of the scientific community are against is one with Dr. Mallone, which remains present on the platform. The episode has also left a bad taste in the mouth of legendary musician and songwriter, Neil Young.
Young has written a letter to Spotify asking them to remove his music by simply saying “They can have [Joe] Rogan or Young. Not both.” He acknowledges the influence that Spotify has, being one of the largest streaming services and points to the danger of spreading misinformation.
Joe Rogan has always had guests of all belief spectrums before he signed a deal to exclusively broadcast on Spotify, allowing varying viewpoints to be shared and allowing his guests to exercise their free speech. However, the line of free speech is what is in question, due to the danger of the Covid-19 vaccine rhetoric coming from his guest, Dr. Robert Mallone. Young may be the first to take the situation seriously, but if others follow suit, it could prove to be detrimental to one of the most successful streaming giants today.