The episodes in question all pre-date 2019 and are unrelated to Rogan’s ongoing controversy over COVID-19 misinformation.
Rather, the removal of at least some of these episodes was apparently due to racist or other derogatory language. Earlier on Friday, the Grammy Award-winning singer India.Arie highlighted 24 instances in which Rogan used the N-word during episodes of his podcast.
“He shouldn’t even be uttering the word. Don’t even say it, under any context. Don’t say it. That’s where I stand. I have always stood there,” said Arie, who earlier in the week pulled her music from Spotify, citing Rogan’s “language around race.”
According to the official subreddit for The Joe Rogan Experience, the episodes referenced by Arie were among those removed by Spotify on Friday.
Other episodes taken down by Spotify featured guest appearances from comedians Bill Burr, Tom Segura, and Pete Holmes, and Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan.
Spotify has not yet publicly addressed the removal of these episodes. Consequence has reached to representatives of the platform for clarification.
Update – February 5th: Joe Rogan has apologized for his past use of the N-word, saying in an Instagram video that it was “the most regretful and shameful thing that I’ve ever had to talk about publicly.”
“It’s a very unusual word, but it’s not my word to use,” he acknowledged. “I’m well aware of that now, but for years I used it in that manner. I never used it to be racist, ’cause I’m not racist.’ But whenever you’re in a situation where you have to say ‘I’m not racist,’ you fucked up, and I clearly have fucked up.”