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29 Oct, 2020 07:11

‘We’re not going to ban specific individuals’: Leaked email suggests Spotify defends Alex Jones’ appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast

‘We’re not going to ban specific individuals’: Leaked email suggests Spotify defends Alex Jones’ appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast

Spotify has reportedly stood by Joe Rogan’s decision to invite conspiracy aficionado Alex Jones onto his podcast, with a top executive at the company arguing that the platform should have diverse viewpoints.

Rogan’s Tuesday show featured Jones and comedian Tom Dillon. The trio’s colorful conversation prompted outcry online as outraged subscribers vowed to cancel their Spotify subscriptions in protest. 

But the company appears to be standing by Rogan, who recently signed an exclusive deal with the Swedish-based audio streaming and media services provider, reportedly worth $100 million. 

In an internal email obtained by BuzzFeed News, Horacio Gutierrez, the company’s chief legal officer and head of global affairs, wrote to managers about how to respond to employee complaints about content hosted on their platform. 

Gutierrez said that potentially problematic material should be reported to Spotify’s Trust & Safety department, but stressed that it was not appropriate to flag a piece of content just because it has stirred up controversy online. “It’s all too common that things are taken out of context,” he noted. 

The executive went on to describe Spotify as “a place for creative expressions” and said it was “important to have diverse voices and points of view on our platform.”

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.

The email, which did not refer to Jones by name, also included “talking points” that top managers should use if asked about the podcast episode, BuzzFeed said. 

The streaming platform has not always been so tolerant of Jones. In August 2018, Spotify was one of four companies that banned Jones from their platforms, purportedly because he violated their policy prohibiting hate content. Several episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience featuring conservative figures, including a previous appearance by Jones, were not listed on Spotify after Rogan moved to the platform. 

Last month, reports suggested that a group of Spotify employees demanded direct editorial oversight over Rogan’s content. The company was said to have held more than 10 internal meetings to discuss the podcaster’s alleged “transphobia.”

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