(NEXSTAR) – Controversial commentator Joe Rogan apologized after a compilation video of him using the n-word on his Spotify podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience” resurfaced. The viral clip(s) come on the heels of a tumultuous two weeks for the 54-year-old, who’s faced condemnation over what many see as aiding the spread of misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines.
“I’m making this video to talk about the most regretful and shameful thing I’ve ever had to talk about publicly,” Rogan said on Instagram Saturday. “It’s a video that’s made of clips taken out of context of 12 years of conversations on my podcast and it’s all smushed together and it looks f—— horrible even to me.”
Rogan said that he understands that to most people “there’s no context where a white person is ever allowed to say that word” and that he now agrees with the stance. “I haven’t said it in years,” Rogan added, saying he thought context (such as quoting Black comedians) made it OK.
During the Saturday video, Rogan explained: “It’s not my word to use. I’m well aware of that now.” Rogan emphasized that he’s “not racist,” but said that “whenever you’re in a situation where you have to say ‘I’m not racist,’ you f—– up. And I clearly have f—– up.”
Some Spotify users noticed up to 70 past episodes of “The Joe Rogan Experience” have disappeared from the platform, though Washington Post notes some have theorized these episodes may have contained the n-word. Washington Post reached out to both Rogan and Spotify for comment but haven’t heard back.
Many of Rogan’s comments on COVID-19 have been criticized, sparking a debate on censorship and the responsibility of platforms for the content they host. Nearly 300 health care professionals sent an open letter to Spotify urging the company to address misinformation on Rogan’s show.
Among their complaints are Rogan’s promotion of the anti-parasitic ivermectin to treat COVID-19 (a use neither approved by the Federal Drug Administration nor backed by scientific evidence) and a guest appearance by the controversial vaccine skeptic Dr. Robert Malone.
The issue heated to a boil in late January, when rocker Neil Young gave Spotify an ultimatum: remove Rogan or remove his music. The streaming giant removed Young’s catalogue – prompting “Delete Spotify” to trend on social media, as many users canceled their accounts. Other artists, including Joni Mitchell, also chose to yank their music.
Meanwhile, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said last weekend that the company would alert listeners of any podcast episode dealing with COVID-19 and direct them to Spotify’s COVID-19 Hub. Ek said the hub provides “data-driven facts, up-to-date information as shared by scientists, physicians, academics and public health authorities around the world, as well as links to trusted sources.”
Spotify Platform Rules were also updated to reflect deceptive medical information would not be allowed, including “asserting that AIDS, COVID-19, cancer or other serious life-threatening diseases are a hoax or not real.” Content suggesting approved vaccines are intended to cause harm or death are also no longer tolerated, the company says.
For his part, Rogan says he’s not intending to promote misinformation, saying: “All I’ve never tried to do anything with this podcast other than to just talk to people.” “The Joe Rogan Experience,” available exclusively on Spotify, was the most-listened-to podcast in the world in 2021. Spotify lost over $2 billion in market value amid these incidents.