Alex Jones Appearance on Joe Rogan Tests Spotify's Content Policies

Alex Jones was banned from Spotify in 2018. He returns via the Joe Rogan Experience, where he spreads conspiracy theories about Covid-19, which Spotify has removed in other instances.
October 28, 2020, 2:01pm
GettyImages-1210373288
Image: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Joe Rogan had Alex Jones on the most recent episode of his podcast yesterday, where the infamous conspiracy theorists spread misleading information about everything from the upcoming election, Covid-19, and child sex trafficking to Rogan's audience of millions.

During the delirious, 3 hour episode, Jones ranted about how Covid-19 is being used by powerful elites to "reorganize society," "end prosperity," "establish a global police state," and "control people's lives," providing no evidence for any of his claims. In fact, repeatedly throughout the podcast, Rogan attempts to challenge Jones about his claims, pulling up articles and studies that Jones is referencing, and arguing that Jones is misrepresenting their contents. 

Advertisement

It's a notably different approach compared to Jones's previous appearances on the podcast, during which Rogan and other guests including Jones were smoking weed and drinking alcohol, and mostly laughing at Jones's patently absurd theories, but not challenging them as Rogan does this time. Rogan didn't drink or smoke weed for this latest episode because he says he's sober for the month of October. Jones, however, drinks throughout the podcast and urges Rogan to drink and smoke weed, which he declined.

While the podcast is posted to YouTube in full as usual, the other notable difference with Jones's latest appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience is that it's his first since Spotify paid Rogan to bring his popular podcast to its platform. That deal earned Rogan $100 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. In May, Spotify removed a podcast from its platform featuring David Icke which also spread misleading information about Covid-19. The podcast was titled “David Icke - The coronavirus conspiracy: How Covid-19 will seize your rights & destroy our economy," and Spotify told CNBC it removed it because it was in violation of its content policies. In 2018, Spotify removed Alex Jones from its platform, saying it was "hateful content."

This week’s episode with Jones, however, is currently still live on Spotify.

Advertisement

Spotify did not immediately respond to questions about whether this episode of the Joe Rogan Experience similarly violated its policies.

“Alex Jones’ channel was terminated and he can no longer operate YouTube channels, but he is still allowed to appear in other videos as long as they comply with our Community Guidelines. We’ve reviewed his latest interview and it does not violate our policies,” YouTube spokesperson Alex Joseph told Motherboard in a statement.

Spotify's deal with Joe Rogan made a lot of headlines when it was announced, but it has since caused turmoil inside the company. In September, Motherboard reported that in an all-hands meeting Spotify employees challenged the company's CEO Daniel Ek about partnering with Rogan who recently published a podcast they said was transphobic. The podcast featured Abigail Shrier, author of the book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters. Shrier associates transgender youth with those with autism, and Shrier and Rogan spend parts of the episode explaining that young people are being pressured into transitioning by YouTube and other media.

Rogan has said repeatedly since that episode that he is not transphobic, but stands by the episode and his previous statements. 

In this most recent episode, Jones also makes transphobic comments, suggesting that gender reassignment is another way for powerful elites to control the population. 

Advertisement

Rogan recently moved his family and podcast operation from Los Angeles, California to Austin, Texas. He said he moved because Gavin Newsom shut down the state in order to slow the spread of Covid-19, and the local government's handling of the wave of protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. Rogan repeatedly says that watching the "riots" in Los Angeles made it clear to him that he and his family weren't safe. 

Jones and his Inforwars operation are also located in Austin, and Rogan said that Jones will appear during a special episode of the Joe Rogan Experience on the day of the election.

Update: This piece has been updated to include a statement from YouTube.