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Spotify declines to weigh in on Rogan’s vaccine remarks, but touts his success

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Spotify is refusing to comment on remarks from its most popular podcast host Joe Rogan casting doubt on the need for some people to get the coronavirus vaccine.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek declined to answer a question Wednesday about Rogan’s recent suggestion that healthy young people should not get the vaccine.

“I don’t have any specific comments on that,” Ek told Bloomberg in an interview. “What I will say is we have 8 million creators, and hundreds of millions of pieces of content. We have a content policy and we do remove pieces that violate it.”

Later, during Spotify’s regular earning call, the company singled out Rogan’s contribution to their podcast user growth in the first quarter.

“December had a very strong month, particularly with Joe Rogan going exclusive,” chief financial officer Paul Vogel said Wednesday.

A source familiar with the situation said that the company was not intending to promote Rogan during the earnings call.

The “Joe Rogan Experience” host has come under significant criticism for remarks made on Thursday’s episode.

He urged people to get vaccinated “if you’re vulnerable” saying he thinks “for the most part it’s safe.” But Rogan added that if a 21-year-old asks him if they should get the vaccine, “I’ll go, ‘No.’ ”

“Are you healthy?” he asked. “Are you a healthy person? Like, look, don’t do anything stupid, but you should take care of yourself. You should — if you’re a healthy person, and you’re exercising all the time, and you’re young, and you’re eating well, like, I don’t think you need to worry about this.”

Spotify has not publicly condemned the remarks, which run counter to advice from medical professionals.

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert, called Rogan “incorrect” earlier Wednesday.

“You’re talking about yourself in a vacuum,” Fauci said of the podcast host. “You’re worried about yourself getting infected and the likelihood that you’re not going to get any symptoms. But you can get infected, and will get infected, if you put yourself at risk.”

While young people have lower COVID-19 death rates than older adults, many have been hospitalized recently as variants spread across the U.S., according to CNN. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 400 children have died from the virus. 

This is not the first time that Rogan has spread misinformation on his podcast, which regularly draws millions of listeners.

He apologized in September for sharing false information about fires on the West Coast and at one point gave noted Sandy Hook school shooting denier Alex Jones a platform.

Rogan has also made remarks in the past criticized as transphobic.

Spotify has taken action against other instances of coronavirus misinformation on its platform, removing a song in March claiming vaccines have microchips in them and a full podcast in January that was rife with conspiracies.

—Updated at 5:50 p.m.

Tags Anthony Fauci Bloomberg CNN Coronavirus coronavirus vaccine COVID-19 COVID-19 vaccine Joe Rogan Podcasts Spotify The Joe Rogan Experience

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