Spotify’s popular US podcaster Joe Rogan has apologised after a video compilation surfaced that showed him using racial slurs in clips from episodes over a 12-year span.
- Podcaster Joe Rogan apologises for his racial slurs but says the clips were “taken out of context”
- India Arie is the latest musician to criticise Rogan and Spotify
- It follows criticism of Rogan’s repeated broadcasting of COVID-19 misinformation
In a video posted on his Instagram account, the Joe Rogan Experience host said his use of the slurs was the “most regretful and shameful thing that I’ve ever had to talk about publicly”.
But, he said, the clips had been “taken out of context”.
“It’s not my word to use. I am well aware of that now but, for years, I used it in that manner,” he said during the six-minute video on his Instagram account.
“I never used it to be racist, because I’m not racist.”
Rogan’s mea culpa follows Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter India Arie’s announcement on Thursday that she was removing her music from the Spotify streaming service because of racial slurs that Rogan had made during his podcasts.
She posted the video montage of Rogan’s clips to her Instagram account.
In her video, Arie said that, even if some of Rogan’s conversations were taken out of context, “he shouldn’t be uttering the word”.
“Don’t even say it, under any context,” she added.
Rogan’s message on Saturday, local time, addressed a video a clip from his podcast 11 years ago in which he talked about going to a movie theatre in a black neighbourhood to see Planet of the Apes.
“I was trying to make the story entertaining, and I said we got out and it was like we were in Africa. It’s like we were in Planet of the Apes,” Rogan said.
He added that he wasn’t trying to be racist but now realised it was “an idiotic thing” to say.
He said he deleted the podcast but that someone must have saved the clip.
Rogan’s apology comes as Spotify is promising to combat the spread of COVID-19 misinformation as part of a damage-control campaign sparked by musician Neil Young, who called out the streaming service’s top podcaster for allowing Rogan to magnify vaccine skepticism.
Last Sunday, Spotify said it would soon add a warning before all podcasts that discuss COVID-19, directing listeners to factual, up-to-date information from scientists and public health experts.
The company also aims to bolster transparency about its publishing decisions by laying out the rules it uses to protect users’ safety.
Spotify garnered 31 per cent of the 524 million worldwide music stream subscriptions in the second quarter of 2021, more than double that of second-place Apple Music, according to Midia Research.
However, Spotify isn’t always popular with musicians, many of whom complain that it doesn’t pay them enough for their work.
Arie said on her video that Spotify was built on the back of the music streaming business and that it uses that money to reward Rogan in a lucrative deal.
She said she did not want to generate money that paid for the podcaster.
“Just take me off,” she said.
Spotify did not respond immediately to a request for comment.