Folk music legend Joni Mitchell has joined the protest against Spotify for hosting The Joe Rogan Experience, saying she will remove her music from the streaming platform because of its role in spreading misinformation about COVID-19.
It comes days after fellow rocker Neil Young published an open letter demanding that his music be removed from Spotify, which has a $100 million deal with Rogan to exclusively host his podcast. On the show, which, with 11 million listeners, is one of the most widely heard programs on Spotify, Rogan and guests have repeatedly made false and misleading claims about COVID-19 vaccines, discouraged children from receiving the vaccine, and promoted unproven or ineffective treatments. An open letter from 270 members of the scientific and medical communities also recently expressed concern over Rogan’s massive platform.
“Mass-misinformation events of this scale have extraordinarily dangerous ramifications,” the letter read, continuing to detail the growing distrust and criticism that commentator-based platforms like Rogan’s have been building against medical research and expertise.
Last week, Young delivered an ultimatum to Spotify: that he would remove his music unless they took action on Rogan. After his music was taken down Wednesday, he said he hoped other artists would join him. “I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines — potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them,” the veteran star explained in a now-deleted letter.
“They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”
In her statement posted late Friday, Mitchell wrote: “I’ve decided to remove all my music from Spotify. Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.”
A Spotify spokesperson didn’t immediate respond to BuzzFeed News on Saturday. But in response to Young’s initial criticism, the company said it has “detailed content policies” in place and has removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to COVID-19.
It wasn’t immediately clear what content would violate its policy, or why the misinformation shared on Rogan’s podcast didn’t qualify.
In the scientists’ letter, they held Spotify responsible for what Rogan and his guests said.
“This is not only a scientific or medical concern; it is a sociological issue of devastating proportions and Spotify is responsible for allowing this activity to thrive on its platform,” the letter concluded.