Spotify Employees Call Joe Rogan Episodes Transphobic, Struggle Within Company

The Joe Rogan Experience recently made its huge and profitable transition to Spotify, roughly around the same time Joe Rogan himself made his move to Texas. However, neither move has been particularly smooth. Fans have been less-than-thrilled with Rogan’s new studio space in Texas. And meanwhile, Spotify has been struggling over various controversial episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience, including several that the company’s employees find transphobic. 

Joe Rogan episodes dropped by Spotify 

Joe Rogan | Michael S. Schwartz/Getty Images

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Joe Rogan has been facing some scrutiny in recent years as the podcast host has invited alt-right pundits onto his show with increasing regularity. Notably, Rogan doesn’t take much responsibility for the harmful views individuals like Milo Yiannopoulos, Alex Jones, Ben Shapiro, and Jordan Peterson have no qualms sharing.

According to The Wrap, The Joe Rogan Experience episodes featuring Alex Jones, Chris D’Elia, Gavin McInnes, and Milo Yiannopoulos were all missing from the Spotify lineup when the show transitioned. 

After a cursory search on Spotify just now, it appears as if D’Elia, Jones, McInnes, and Yiannopoulos are still missing. However, Alex Jones has claimed that their episodes will be uploaded to Spotify. 

Spotify deals with internal struggles over transphobic episodes

Joe Rogan
Joe Rogan | Michael S. Schwartz/Getty Images

Unsurprisingly, some Spotify employees are taking umbrage with Joe Rogan’s more alienating podcast episodes. Notably, they’re requesting that Spotify leadership remove transphobic content from the uploads. 

“In the case of Joe Rogan, a total of 10 meetings have been held with various groups and individuals to hear their respective concerns,” said Spotify CEO Daniel Ek. “And some of them want Rogan removed because of things he’s said in the past.”

As reported by Vice, questions asked include, “Many LGBTQAI+/ally Spotifiers feel unwelcome and alienated because of leadership’s response in JRE conversations. What is your message to those employees?” 

Another question referred to a group within Spotify meant to focus on these issues, pointing out that Spotify has gone against its own guidelines. 

“Why has Spotify chosen to ignore Spectrum ERG’s guidance about transphobic content in the JRE catalog?” they asked.

It is worth noting that one such episode includes and interview with Abigail Shrier, a noted transphobe who penned the book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters. It is also worth noting that Rogan seemed to endorse her views at points. 

Spotify leadership defends choice 

Joe Rogan episodes have been called transphobic by Spotify employees
Joe Rogan | Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Despite the various complaints brought up by employees, Spotify has decided to keep the episodes available. Spotify has also asked employees not to discuss their concerns with the media, a damning move to make in and of itself. 

Daniel Ek allegedly informed his employees, “If we can’t have open, confidential debates, we will have to move those discussions to closed doors.” 

“Others have concerns specifically over a recent episode. And Joe Rogan and the episode in question have been reviewed extensively. The fact that we aren’t changing our position doesn’t mean we aren’t listening. It just means we made a different judgment call,” Ek added.