It has been quite the month for Joe Rogan, the podcast host of The Joe Rogan Experience has been under the spotlight recently for a series of controversies. First, it was spreading alleged misinformation on covid vaccines that sparked several artists to pull their music from Spotify. Secondly, several clips from Rogan’s podcast were unearthed revealing the host used the N-Word on multiple occasions. Subsequently, Spotify pulled 113 episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience off of the streaming platform. Now though, the ever divisive man behind the mic has been offered a new lease on life.
This helping hand has been offered by Rumble, with the content platform offering Joe Rogan $100 million dollars over four years to bring all of his podcast episodes to their service. You can see their tweet below, in which they reach out to Rogan via a written statement from Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski.
What is Rumble? Rumble is a Canadian based video content platform that rivals the likes of YouTube. They are widely considered to be a conservative platform. Forbes writes that “Rumble, which started in 2013, is home to shows from conservative personalities Steven Crowder and Dan Bongino.” They also comment that “Rumble has been sharing social media posts on Twitter about Rogan leaving Spotify for it since Friday.”
In the letter to Rogan, Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski writes “this is our chance to save the world” and asks Rogan “how about you bring all your shows to Rumble, both old and new, with no censorship.” Censorship is a keyword amidst all of this ongoing frenzy surrounding The Joe Rogan Experience. Spotify has come under fire from some critics for their act of pulling some of the podcasters. The New York Post goes so far as to claim that Spotify’s removal of episodes is a “tactic out of the old soviet union.” They go on to write “Make no mistake, the recent Joe Rogan vs. Spotify scandal is not about COVID and what constitutes proper medical protocols to fight it. It’s about the future of free speech in America.”
However, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek claims that the decision to remove episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience was ultimately decided by Rogan and his creative team. In a memo obtained by The Verge, Ek goes on to make a series of statements about Spotify’s stance on the matter and how the decision to remove episodes of the podcast came about. The Spotify CEO says, “Not only are some of Joe Rogan’s comments incredibly hurtful — I want to make clear that they do not represent the values of this company.” Ek then doubles down on the decision to remove episodes of the podcast, “following these chats “and his own reflections,” Ek says Rogan “chose to remove a number of episodes from Spotify.”
Is self-censorship perhaps what is at play in this scenario? There has certainly been pressure from critics on the other side of the argument for Joe Rogan to be removed completely from the platform. However, Daniel Ek and Spotify have stated that they will not be taking this action. The Hollywood Reporter was made privy to a letter sent to Spotify staff by their CEO, in which Ek states, “I want to make one point very clear — I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer,” Ek wrote. “We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but cancelling voices is a slippery slope.”
This certainly won’t please those who are calling for Joe Rogan’s removal, or for fans of the artists that are pulling their content from the platform in the wake of this controversy. Perhaps this is also a blow for Rumble, as it could signal that Joe Rogan isn’t for sale. It remains to be seen whether Rogan will be on the move. Will it be to Rumble, or elsewhere? Is Rumble simply jumping on a trending topic to boost their marketing? Is it right for Rogan’s episodes to be removed, or wrong for Rogan himself not to be removed? Time and the court of public opinion will tell, but for now, it seems as if the Joe Rogan narrative is here to stay.