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Jon Stewart sides with Joe Rogan as more artists leave Spotify: ‘This overreaction is a mistake’

Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and more have removed their catalogues from the streaming platform

Clémence Michallon
New York City
Thursday 03 February 2022 19:33 GMT
Video mash-up compares Joe Rogan’s apology to what he says on podcast
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Jon Stewart has sided with Joe Rogan after several artists left Spotify in protest over Rogan’s podcast, which is hosted by the streaming platform.

Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Roxane Gay, and Mary Trump have all pulled their songs and podcasts from the service, as have Young’s former bandmates David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash.

The move came in response to Spotify’s decision to keep airing Rogan’s podcast despite the fact that Rogan has shared Covid misinformation on the programme.

Stewart was asked to share his opinion on the matter on his own podcast The Problem with Jon Stewart, a companion to his Apple TV+ show of the same name.

“Don’t leave. Don’t abandon,” he said, urging his followers to “engage” instead – while acknowledging that it might not always “work out fruitfully”.

“This overreaction to Rogan, I think, is a mistake,” he added.

Stewart did point out that Rogan “has power because so many people listen to him”. (Rogan’s podcast draws an estimated 11 million listeners per episode.)

“I’m more worried about the algorithm of misinformation than the purveyor of misinformation,” he added. “Misinformation will always be out there, but if the algorithm drives people further and further down the rabbit hole, the algorithm is the amplifier and the catalyst of extremism.”

Spotify said on Sunday it will add a content advisory “to any podcast episode that includes a discussion” about Covid, and will direct listeners to a hub of factual information about the virus. It also published the platform rules it uses for its creators.

Those rules ask contributors to “avoid” “content that promotes dangerous false or dangerous deceptive medical information that may cause offline harm or poses a direct threat to public health”, such as asserting that Covid and other serious diseases “are a hoax or not real”, or that “vaccines approved by local health authorities are designed to cause death”.

Abbie Richards, a misinformation researcher, called the warning labels “too little, too late” while speaking to Rolling Stone.

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