WHO chief backs Neil Young’s Spotify protest over Joe Rogan Covid misinformation

“They can have Rogan or Young. Not both,” Mr Young said

Related video: Joe Rogan continues to ignore covid science even as he reads it out loud

The head of the World Health Organisation has backed musician Neil Young after the singer said he refused to host his music on Spotify after it refused to remove an episode of the Joe Rogan podcast critics claim contains coronavirus vaccine misinformation.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the WHO, thanked Mr Young for "standing up against misinformation and inaccuracies" about Covid vaccinations.

He said that "we all have a role to play to end this pandemic and infodemic," especially social media platforms.

Mr Young issued an ultimatum to Spotify to either remove the podcast episode or remove his music.

“They can have Rogan or Young. Not both,” Mr Young said.

He wrote a letter to Spotify informing the company of his intentions and demands.

“Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them,” Mr Young wrote.

He said the streaming platform had a responsibility to “mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform.”

Mr Young told his manager to "let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform."

The platform began removing his music earlier this week as a result. The company released a statement responding to Mr Young's demands.

“We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon,” the company wrote.

The company also claimed it had "detailed content policies in place and we've removed over 20,000 podcast episodes relating to Covid since the start of the pandemic."

The Independent has reached out to Spotify for comment.

Many of Mr Young's fans called for a boycott of the streaming platform and for other artists to threaten to remove their music as well. Twitter trending topics included "I stand with Neil Young" and "#CancelSpotify" on Thursday.

Joe Rogan

Despite the rallying cry, there was no apparent move from other artists to remove their music or podcasts from the platform, likely due to Spotify's dominance in the streaming music world.

Mr Rogan was a major acquisition for Spotify. The company paid $100m for exclusive rights to host Mr Rogan's podcast. The host claims the podcast receives nearly 200 million downloads each month and has 11 million listeners each episode.

The podcast drew significant criticism after a recent episode featured Dr Robert Malone, who claims he invented mRNA vaccines. While he was involved with their initial development, many other scientists and researchers contributed to the development of the vaccines.

Mr Malone railed against the vaccine and vaccine mandates, suggesting that current drives to get Americans vaccinated to the coronavirus – still the best way to avoid significant illness and death from the disease – was the result of "mass formation psychosis."

Medical experts have rejected Dr Malone's hypothesis, telling Reuters that "mass formation psychosis" isn't even a recognised condition in the broader medical community.

"It seems to have been made up recently," Dr Jay Van Bavel, associate professor of psychology and neural science at New York University, told the outlet.

The podcast episode prompted hundreds of scientists and medical experts to sign an open letter to Spotify claiming Mr Rogan had "repeatedly spread misleading and false claims on his podcast, provoking distrust in science and medicine" and that he had "spread a number of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in