By Jack Phillips
Video-sharing platform Rumble on Monday offered podcast host Joe Rogan $100 million to bring his discussions to an uncensored forum in the midst of pressure to remove him from Spotify.
“We stand with you, your guests, and your legion of fans in desire for real conversation. So we’d like to offer you 100 million reasons to make the world a better place,” said Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski in a letter uploaded by the company. “How about you bring all your shows to Rumble, both old and new, with no censorship, for 100 million bucks over four years? This is our chance to save the world. And yes, this is totally legit.”
In December 2021, CF Acquisition Corp. VI, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) known as CFVI, agreed to enter a business combination with Rumble, valued at about $2.1 billion, according to analysts.
Last year, Rumble—which says it operates a video platform that is “immune to cancel culture”—entered into a partnership with former President Donald Trump’s media group TRUTH social.
Rogan, whose podcasts average about 11 million listeners per episode, entered into a deal with Spotify reportedly worth more than $100 million to exclusively host his show.
But in recent days, Spotify has faced calls to cancel Rogan’s show after several musicians, including Neil Young, said they would remove their music from the platform over alleged misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines. Other than Young, singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, one-hit-wonder indie band Belly, and alternative group Failure said they would follow suit.
After Spotify agreed to remove Young’s music and said it would keep Rogan around, a heavily-edited video compilation was posted online showing Rogan said the “n-word” several times over the past decade during his show. The video was highlighted by singer India Arie, who asked Spotify to remove her tracks from the streaming service.
Rogan on Friday issued an apology via his Instagram channel but noted that the clips were taken entirely out of context.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, in a response on Sunday, said that removing Rogan’s podcast would be “a slippery slope” toward canceling others.
“I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer,” Ek wrote in a memo to staff. “We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but canceling voices is a slippery slope.”
He added: “Following these discussions and his own reflections, he chose to remove a number of episodes from Spotify. He also issued his own apology over the weekend … and I want to make one point very clear—I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer.”
Spotify has not returned a request for comment.