- Spotify emailed managers following Alex Jones' appearance on Joe Rogan's podcast that's hosted on the streaming service, BuzzFeed News reported Wednesday.
- In the internal email, Spotify exec Horacio Gutierrez said "it's important to have diverse voices and points of view on our platform" and that it wouldn't prevent podcasts from having particular guests on.
- Jones himself, however, was previously banned from publishing on Spotify in 2018 after repeated violations of Spotify's policies.
- Joe Rogan's reported $100 million deal with Spotify brings millions of listeners to the platform, but it's also led to internal backlash following Rogan's remarks about trans people.
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Spotify emailed managers talking points to help field questions from employees following podcaster Joe Rogan's controversial decision to have conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on a recent episode of "The Joe Rogan Experience," according to Buzzfeed News.
Joe Rogan struck a multi-year deal with Spotify reportedly worth over $100 million that will eventually see the streaming platform be the exclusive hosting platform for his podcast. But the decision has led to headaches for Spotify, as the podcast host's past statements about trans people prompted backlash among Spotify employees, and Rogan hosting Jones is likely to further exacerbate the issue.
While the email did not mention Jones by name, it instructed managers on how to respond to questions or concerns regarding content hosted on the platform, according to BuzzFeed News.
"If a team member has concerns about any piece of content on our platform, you should encourage them to report it to Trust & Safety because they are the experts on our team charged with reviewing content," Horacio Gutierrez, the Spotify's chief legal officer, reportedly said in the email. "However, it's important that they aren't simply flagging a piece of content just because of something they've read online. It's all too common that things are taken out of context."
In other talking points in the email, Gutierrez reportedly said, "We are not going to ban specific individuals from being guests on other people's shows, as the episode/show complies with our content policies," and "It's important to have diverse voices and points of view on our platform."
Jones has spread many conspiracy theories across the internet, including one in which Jones claimed the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax. Jones has been banned from publishing content on Spotify since 2018, for "repeated violations" of the service's policies. He has also been banned from Apple, YouTube, and Facebook.
This wasn't Jones' first time on the podcast, but it was his first since Rogan struck the deal with Spotify. This time around, Rogan pushed back on some of Jones' statements, pressing for his source and conducting some follow-up fact-checking on the fly. He called Jones out on some of his past "f–kups," as the host called them, including Sandy Hook, but also defended Jones overall.
"You've gotten so many things right. This is why I keep talking to you about these things, and that's why I defend you and why I think it's f–king dangerous to censor you," Rogan said.
In the podcast episode itself, Jones also talked about censorship and denied climate change.
On average, Rogan has about 190 million monthly downloads, according to The Verge. Previous episodes with Jones are not on the platform, and Spotify has not addressed the reason why.
Spotify did not respond to requests for comment, and as of Wednesday afternoon, the episode is still available on the platform as of Wednesday afternoon.
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