Neil Young urges Spotify workers to quit as Trump tells Joe Rogan to 'stop apologizing'

Chantal Da Silva

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Neil Young takes another shot at Spotify, urges employees to leave
Neil Young takes another shot at Spotify, urges employees to leave

Neil Young urged Spotify employees to quit their jobs in a fresh attack on the company over its decision to continue giving polarizing podcaster Joe Rogan a platform.

In a statement published on his official website, Young, 76, said he hoped Spotify workers would "get out of that place before it eats up your soul."

The message came as Spotify continues to face scrutiny over its support for Rogan despite the podcaster's past comments spreading misinformation around the Covid-19 vaccine and his use of racist slurs on his show, "The Joe Rogan Experience."

Young, who made headlines last month after demanding Spotify remove his music over Rogan's past comments, told workers that the "big problem" with the streaming service was really its CEO, Daniel Ek.

Neil Young attends a press conference for Farm Aid 34 at Alpine Valley Music Theatre on September 21, 2019 in East Troy, Wisconsin.
Gary Miller | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

"Ek pulls the strings. Get out of that place before it eats up your soul," Young said. The only goals stated by EK are about numbers — not art, not creativity."

The "Heart of Gold" singer also urged musicians and other creators to "find a better place than SPOTIFY to be the home of your art."

Young's comments came after Ek sent out a letter to Spotify workers on Sunday apologizing for the controversy surrounding Rogan, but also defending the podcaster, saying he did "not believe that silencing Joe is the answer."

The letter came as the company was reported to have taken down about 70 episodes of "The Joe Rogan Experience" over the weekend after Rogan publicly apologized for instances when he used the N-word in past podcasts.

In his letter, Ek said Rogan had made the decision to remove the episodes himself and said he agreed with the move.

Rogan's past comments, he said, "do not represent the values of this company" as he emphasized that Spotify does not act as the publisher of "The Joe Rogan Experience" podcast.

Still, Ek said that Spotify had been in talks with Rogan and his team about "some of the content in his show, including his history of using some racially insensitive language."

"Following these discussions and his own reflections, he chose to remove a number of episodes from Spotify," he said, noting that the podcaster had also "issued his own apology over the weekend."

The development marked the latest turn in the controversy surrounding Rogan, with the podcaster having faced strong criticism over past episodes of his show sharing misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccine.

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The most recent wave of backlash came after the podcaster hosted Dr. Robert Malone, a virologist who has become known as a new voice in the anti-vaccination movement.

On Monday, former President Donald Trump waded into the debate, calling on Rogan to "stop apologizing" for his past comments.

"Joe Rogan is an interesting and popular guy, but he's got to stop apologizing to the Fake News and Radical Left maniacs and lunatics," Trump said in a statement.

"How many ways can you say you're sorry? Joe, just go about what you do so well and don't let them make you look weak and frightened," he said. "That's not you and it never will be!"

Rogan's team and Spotify did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.