A group of 270 doctors, nurses, professors, and other medical experts has asked Spotify “to immediately establish a clear and public policy to moderate misinformation on its platform” in response to an episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” featuring Dr. Robert Malone.
The Associated Press describes Malone as “a scientist who once researched mRNA technology but is now a vocal skeptic of the COVID-19 vaccines that use it” in an article debunking his claim that millions of Americans only got vaccinated against COVID-19 because they were suffering from a psychological disorder, “mass formation psychosis,” that doesn’t actually exist.
As for what that has to do with Spotify: The Wall Street Journal reported in May 2020 that Spotify and Rogan struck a licensing deal worth over $100 million to make “The Joe Rogan Experience” exclusive to the company’s platform. It’s now Spotify’s flagship podcast and, per the statistics released as part of Spotify Wrapped at the end of 2021, the most popular podcast in the world.
“With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode,” the group of medical professionals says in the open letter to Spotify, “JRE is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence. Though Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, the company presently has no misinformation policy.”
The group continues:
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Joe Rogan has repeatedly spread misleading and false claims on his podcast, provoking distrust in science and medicine. He has discouraged vaccination in young people and children, incorrectly claimed that mRNA vaccines are ‘gene therapy,’ promoted off-label use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 (contrary to FDA warnings), and spread a number of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. In episode #1757, Rogan hosted Dr. Robert Malone, who was suspended from Twitter for spreading misinformation about COVID-19. Dr. Malone used the JRE platform to further promote numerous baseless claims, including several falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines and an unfounded theory that societal leaders have ‘hypnotized’ the public. Many of these statements have already been discredited. Notably, Dr. Malone is one of two recent JRE guests who has compared pandemic policies to the Holocaust. These actions are not only objectionable and offensive, but also medically and culturally dangerous.
Spotify didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.