Spotify CEO defends Alex Jones' appearance on Joe Rogan's podcast: 'It's more about the content itself'

Daniel Ek Toru Yamanaka, CEO of Spotify / Getty Images
Standing by Joe Rogan's decision to have Alex Jones on his podcast, CEO Daniel Ek says, "We obviously review any content that comes up. And it doesn't matter if you're Joe Rogan or anyone else."
On Tuesday, an episode of "The Joe Rogan Experience" became available for streaming, starring well-known right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, whose publication on the platform has been banned since 2018.
Spotify's CEO said that if the content itself violates the platform's policies, action will be taken but the company will not prevent certain people from appearing as guests.
Spotify CFO Paul Aaron Vogel said Thursday morning that Rogan's podcast is currently the # 1 podcast in various markets, including some non-English.
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After popular Spotify podcaster Joe Rogan had conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on his popular show "The Joe Rogan Experience" earlier this week, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek defended Rogan's decision.
"We want creators to create something. It's what they do best. We don't want to play a role in what they should say," Ek said during an interview with Financial Times correspondent Anna Nicolaou. To make his point, Ek said that Spotify's guidelines "don't include what guests our podcasts invite to, it's more about the content itself."
When the episode hit the platform earlier this week, Spotify was criticized for letting Jones back on the platform even if it wasn't for his own show. Jones has been banned from being published on Spotify since 2018 for "repeated violations" of the platform's hate speech guidelines.
Rogan is no stranger to controversy either. In the past, the podcast host has been accused of making transphobic comments during his show, which prompted Spotify to hold internal meetings about the backlash over complaints from employees.
Speaking of Spotify's earnings forecast on Thursday morning, CFO Paul Aaron Vogel said Rogan's podcast is currently the # 1 podcast in various markets, including some non-English markets. That's even before the podcast becomes available exclusively for Spotify later this year.
When asked about Jones' appearance on the podcast during the same call, Ek referred to Spotify's content guidelines as to why the episode is still available for streaming.
"We obviously review all of the content. And it doesn't matter if you are Joe Rogan or someone else, we apply these [content] guidelines," Ek said. "But it's important to note that this needs to be applied equally, whether it's internal or external pressure, otherwise we're a creative platform for a lot of developers and it's important that they know what to expect from us If we can't, there are other options for many developers. "
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