Doctors are begging Spotify to do something about Joe Rogan's BS
The number of doctors, experts, and educators who signed an open letter to Spotify.
Joe Rogan, we regret to inform you, is going to keep on Joe Rogan-ing. There’s really nothing to do about it at this point apart from wholesale ignoring everything that comes out of his thumb-shaped head. Unfortunately, doing that apparently still puts you in the minority of people at the moment; The Joe Rogan Experience remains undisputedly the most popular podcast in the world, with its Spotify-exclusive episodes reaching approximately 11 million listeners per episode.
Because of this, 270 doctors, medical professionals, and science educators recently signed a scathing open letter begging the streaming service to craft and release a misinformation policy to deal with issues like Rogan’s repeated, easily debunked claims regarding COVID-19, vaccine efficacy, and pseudoscience alternative treatments for the virus. In an interview with Rolling Stone, one signee even went so far as to label Rogan “a menace to public health.” You’ll get no pushback from us on that one.
Paging Dr. Malone — Although Rogan’s spurious comments and claims regarding COVID-19 can be traced back virtually to the pandemic’s beginning, the medical experts’ push comes primarily from his actions in recent weeks — in particular, his interview with noted medical quack and COVID conspiracy theorist, Dr. Robert Malone, just last month.
During their chat, Malone tossed out heaps of nonsense, including the idea that “mass formation psychosis” explains people’s belief in vaccine efficacy, as well as the ridiculous claim that the federal government is incentivizing hospitals to falsely attribute deaths to COVID-19. Oh, and lest we forget conspiracy theorists’ favorite grotesque ethical equivalency argument: government pandemic mandates are akin to Nazism and the Holocaust.
“By allowing the propagation of false and societally harmful assertions, Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals,” reads the letter co-authored by epidemiologist and popular Instagram personality, Jessica Malaty Rivera, later adding that, “these actions are not only objectionable and offensive, but also medically and culturally dangerous.
Don’t hold your breath — Sadly, it’s hard to envision Spotify responding to the new open letter, or even enacting enforceable misinformation policies. The company’s CEO has already backed Rogan before on his right to spout transphobic bile, and the podcaster’s $100 million exclusivity deal with the platform ensures copious amounts of (badly needed) revenue for everyone involved.
As absurd as it still may be, Joe Rogan remains a cultural mainstay for huge numbers of people across the country. Spotify knows this and is apparently willing to overlook direct correlations to death rates and viral transmission numbers for profits.