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7 Feb, 2022 17:34

Joe Rogan receives $100mn offer amid Spotify row

Rumble CEO says he’s made a “totally legit” offer to Rogan to ditch Spotify amid censorship pressure
Joe Rogan receives $100mn offer amid Spotify row

Joe Rogan has been offered a $100 million deal to leave Spotify and take his podcast to Rumble, including all deleted episodes, the platform’s CEO Chris Pavlovski has announced. 

“How about you bring all your shows to Rumble, both old and new, with no censorship, for 100 million bucks over four years? This is our chance to save the world. And yes, this is totally legit,” Pavlovski wrote in a letter to Rogan he made public on Monday.

The offer came after the 54-year-old comedian and podcast host apologized for “racially insensitive language” used on some episodes of ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’. More than 100 episodes have been taken down from Spotify’s archives, with CEO Daniel Ek claiming in a memo on Sunday that Rogan himself decided to remove 70 of them.

Ek’s internal memo, which was leaked to the public, showed the CEO seemingly attempting to walk the tightrope between wanting to keep Rogan on the platform and the mounting pressure – both internal and external – to censor him. 

“I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer,” Ek wrote, adding that while Spotify should obviously crack down on “harmful” content, “canceling voices is a slippery slope.”

The $100 million figure matches the amount Spotify paid in 2020 to license Rogan’s full catalog of episodes and become his podcast's exclusive home.

Rogan was previously accused of spreading “misinformation” about the Covid-19 vaccines, after interviewing several scientists skeptical of the jabs – including mRNA developer Dr. Robert Malone. A number of other artists, from Neil Young and Joni Mitchell to ex-royals Harry Windsor and his wife Meghan, also threatened to pull their content from Spotify if it didn’t muzzle Rogan.

Last week, the White House applauded Spotify putting a misinformation disclaimer on some of Rogan’s shows as “a good step,” adding “there’s more that can be done.” After that, a Democrat media outlet called MeidasTouch spread a compilation of clips in which Rogan says a racial slur. The video has prompted accusations of racism, even though Rogan insists he is not racist and was quoting someone else. It went viral over the weekend, prompting Rogan’s apology.

Meanwhile, Pavlovski has been retweeting calls for Rogan to move over to Rumble, a free-speech platform originally set up to compete with Google’s YouTube.

The Florida-based platform has significantly expanded its reach and revenue since acquiring Locals last October, in a move Pavlovski said was “building the rails to a new tech ecosystem that will free everyone from the restraints of editorial control.”