Joe Rogan offered $100m ‘over four years’ to leave Spotify for right-wing platform Rumble

‘This is our chance to save the world. And yes, this is totally legit,’ CEO says

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Tuesday 08 February 2022 05:20
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Related video: Joe Rogan impersonates child with disability in resurfaced 2006 clip

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Joe Rogan has been offered $100m “over four years” to leave Spotify for the conservative-leaning platform Rumble.

Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski told Mr Rogan in a statement posted to Twitter that the Canadian video-sharing platform stands “with you, your guests, and your legion of fans in desire for real conversation”.

“So we’d like to offer you 100 million reasons to make the world a better place. 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,” he added.

It has been reported that Mr Rogan signed a deal with Spotify in 2019 for more than $100m for the platform to be the exclusive host of his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience.

Both Mr Rogan and Spotify have faced criticism and boycotts in recent weeks as some musicians have demanded that their music be removed from the platform because of Covid-19 vaccine misinformation on the podcast, while others have criticised Mr Rogan’s use of racial slurs in past episodes.

More than 200 medical experts signed a letter addressed to Spotify, requesting acknowledgement that The Joe Rogan Experience has been a major promoter and source of misinformation surrounding Covid-19 vaccines and treatments.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has said that Mr Rogan personally asked that 113 of his past episodes be removed from the platform.

“While I strongly condemn what Joe has said and I agree with his decision to remove past episodes from our platform, I realise some will want more,” Mr Ek wrote in a memo to Spotify staff. “We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but cancelling voices is a slippery slope. Looking at the issue more broadly, it’s critical thinking and open debate that powers real and necessary progress.”

“I think it’s critical we listen carefully to one another and consider how we can and should do better,” he said. “I’ve spent this time having lots of conversations with people inside and outside of Spotify—some have been supportive while others have been incredibly hard, but all of them have made me think.”

While Rumble’s “featured channels” include outlets such as news agency Reuters and the New York Post, it also promotes right-wing figures such as former President Donald Trump, former Trump White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, as well as pundits Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino. It also features right-wing outlets such as Newsmax.

The site, launched in 2013, grew rapidly between 2020 and 2021, going from 1.6 million monthly users to 31.9 million.

Mr Pavlovski told Fox Business Network last year that the Toronto-based platform wasn’t intended to be a “political platform, but as a way to provide video creators a way to host, manage, distribute and monetize their content”.

While it calls itself a “neutral” platform, anti-vaccine propaganda had been spreading freely on Rumble as has content showing revulsion at people with more liberal and left-leaning views, Rolling Stone magazine reported.

Mr Rogan has apologised in videos posted to Instagram, addressing both Covid-19 misinformation and his use of racist language. In one video, posted on Saturday, he said that his use of the N-word is the “most regretful and shameful thing that I’ve ever had to talk about publicly”.

But he added that the videos included in the compilation had been “taken out of context” and that he hadn’t used the racial slur for years.

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