Spotify is copping heat after a recent comment Joe Rogan made on his podcast advocating against healthy, young people getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
During the April 23rd episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, the polarising commentator told Dave Smith that “for the most part it’s safe to get vaccinated”, and both his parents received the vaccine. However, he is of the belief that “If you’re like 21 years old, and you say to me, ‘Should I get vaccinated?’ I’ll go no.”
“If you’re a healthy person, and you’re exercising all the time, and you’re young, and you’re eating well, like, I don’t think you need to worry about this,” he added. “We’re talking about something that is not statistically dangerous for children. But yet people still want you to get your child vaccinated, which is crazy to me.”
A report by watchdog group Media Matters has incited widespread backlash against Rogan’s comments. The report highlights the fatal cases of COVID-19 amongst young people and children — citing data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association that 296 children have died of COVID-19 in the U.S.
Older people are at a higher risk of fatalities associated with the disease, though science has backed that “healthy” “21 year olds” are at risk of experiencing long-term repercussions from the virus. Unvaccinated people also risk putting vulnerable people at risk. As Variety note, an unvaccinated care worker in Kentucky spread a variant of the virus to more than 40 people.
Spotify is yet to release a statement addressing the latest controversy. As The Verge report, a source close to Spotify claims that the streaming service has reviewed the Rogan episode and decided against removing. Concluding that Rogan’s comments, although irresponsible and dangerous, don’t spread ostensibly anti-vax rhetoric.
Back in January, Spotify removed the Pete Evans’ podcast over spreading COVID-19 misinformation. In a statement shared at the time, Spotify wrote: “Spotify prohibits content on the platform which promotes dangerous false, deceptive, or misleading content about COVID-19 that may cause offline harm and/or pose a direct threat to public health. When content that violates this standard is identified it is removed from the platform.”
Since The Joe Rogan Experience landed exclusively on Spotify in September last year, the streaming service has pulled 42 episodes of the show. Including past segments with prominent, conservative guests Gavin McInnes and Milo Yiannopoulos.
The Joe Rogan Experience is currently the most popular podcast on Spotify in the U.S. Upon acquiring exclusivity of the podcast, Spotify has maintained that Rogan will have complete creative control over his content.