Spotify Quietly Deletes Controversial Episodes Of ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’

Forty-two episodes, including interviews with comedian Chris D’Elia and Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, have been removed.

Music streaming giant Spotify has been removing episodes of its incredibly popular podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience” from the platform — and the most recently axed episodes were deleted just this week.

So far, 42 episodes of the podcast’s catalog have been nixed from the audio streamer, according to Digital Music News, a source for music industry news and analysis. It’s unclear why these episodes have been pulled, but some episodes cited by Variety seem to contain controversial content.

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Comedian Joe Rogan performs at The Ice House Comedy Club on April 17, 2019, in Pasadena, California.
Michael S. Schwartz via Getty Images

Episodes that have been removed include interviews with far-right figures such as former Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos and Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, as well as four episodes with comedian Chris D’Elia, who last year was accused of “grooming” underage girls and soliciting child pornography.

Three episodes with Bulletproof Coffee founder Dave Asprey were also deleted from the platform, DMN reported. Asprey, who refers to himself as the “father of biohacking,” developed a high-fat diet that has been criticized for being “unscientific.” Vox called it a “caricature of a bad fad-diet book.”

HuffPost reached out to Spotify for comment but did not receive an immediate response.

Rogan was apparently made aware that some episodes wouldn’t make it over to the platform as part of a $100 million deal he struck with Spotify last year to move his podcast from YouTube over to the streamer exclusively.

In March, the comedian confirmed on his podcast that Spotify had refused to transfer a number of his earlier shows as part of the agreement.

“There were a few episodes they didn’t want on their platform, and I was like ‘OK, I don’t care,’” Rogan said, per DMN

Some of the episodes Spotify chose not to transfer featured conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of “Infowars” fame. In 2018, Spotify deleted several episodes of Jones’ radio show from the platform, citing its policies against hate speech.

In October 2020, a month after “The Joe Rogan Experience” began streaming on Spotify, Rogan hosted Jones on his podcast. 

Shortly after Jones’ appearance, Buzzfeed News obtained a leaked email from Horacio Gutierrez, Spotify’s chief legal officer and head of global affairs, who told team managers, “We are not going to ban specific individuals from being guests on other people’s shows, as the episode/show complies with our content policies.”

As of Thursday afternoon, Rogan’s October episode with Jones is still on Spotify.

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Rogan, who has also done UFC commentating, interviews Cody Garbrandt Madison Square Garden in 2017.
Josh Hedges via Getty Images

Spotify employees also threatened to strike in September 2020 if employees weren’t granted the ability to “directly edit or remove sections of upcoming interviews, or block the uploading of episodes deemed problematic” from “The Joe Rogan Experience,” according to DMN.

Yet, this hasn’t hindered Rogan from expressing controversial opinions on his podcast.

Since moving his podcast to Spotify in September, Rogan has falsely claimed that “left-wing people” started the wildfires in Oregon, which he later apologized for. He’s said that he doesn’t plan on taking the COVID-19 vaccine because he didn’t feel he “needed it,” and he’s also criticized the transgender community.

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