Joe Rogan records an episode of his podcast, speaking into a microphone and scowling.

Spotify Isn’t Even Pretending To Care About Joe Rogan’s Vaccine Misinformation Problem Anymore

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. probably has more to his presidential campaign platform than just being a staunch anti-vaxxer, but if so, he doesn’t seem to be doing much to make people aware of it. Since entering the 2024 presidential race as a Democrat, RFK Jr. has been doing surprisingly well in his polling. When asked if they view the candidate “favorably,” a whopping 49% of respondents in a recent poll said yes.

Recommended Videos

Now, Kennedy’s family name is sure to be gifting him a lot of affinity from Democratic voters (and his vocal criticism of Biden undoubtedly gives him a boost with the Let’s Go Brandon crowd) but he’s also become a barometer for Dem voters’ stance on vaccines—specifically the COVID-19 vaccine and all the other politicized coronavirus hoopla. If a celebrity or other public figure comes out in support of Kennedy, it’s not guaranteed they’re an anti-vaxxer, but there’s an extremely good chance that’s the case, seeing as the anti-vax issue is basically Kennedy’s entire deal. At the very least, his supporters are willing to overlook that.

Kennedy’s extreme opposition to vaccines (bordering on obsession, really) was on full display during his recent appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast. You might remember Rogan came under fire in recent years for being a massive source of COVID misinformation. Rogan has a gigantic audience and used a guise of ignorance (“just asking questions!”) to spread dangerous conspiracies and falsehoods to millions of listeners.

In response to the outcry from medical professionals, music artists, and angry customers, Spotify at least pretended to care about protecting listeners from the lies being pushed by the man they were paying an exorbitant amount of money to do so, putting a “content advisory” on podcast episodes that discussed COVID-19.

That did not stop Rogan from pushing COVID misinformation, but from the sound of it, his recent discussion with Kennedy takes things to a disturbing new level. As Motherboard’s Anna Merlan describes it:

The conversation was an orgy of unchecked vaccine misinformation, some conspiracy-mongering about 5G technology and wifi, and, of course, Rogan once again praising ivermectin, an ineffective faux COVID treatment. As RFK began his campaign by downplaying his anti-vaccine activism, the conversation represented a bit of a return to form. But the episode also conclusively demonstrates that Spotify, the platform that reportedly paid more than $200 million to host Rogan’s show, has completely given up on addressing his relentless torrent of medical misinformation, except in the most pallid and surface-level ways. 

Rogan and Kennedy talked for three hours (which sounds utterly unbearable in itself), during which time RFK Jr. touted ineffectual and dangerous “treatments,” suggested vaccines cause autism (they absolutely do not), and also falsely said vaccines contain a dangerous and potentially fatal type of mercury, as well as “other toxics.”

If you think Spotify might be reluctant or at least embarrassed to be platforming this sort of dangerous drivel, you would be wrong! Again, from Motherboard:

In response to a request for comment from Motherboard, a Spotify spokesperson offered the following statement: “Spotify has long-standing policies that help us balance creator expression and listener preferences while minimizing the risk of offline harm. We have multiple measures to ensure that content on Spotify is in keeping with our policies.” (In a separate email, the same spokesperson added, “Since the beginning of the Covid Pandemic, we removed over 20,000 podcast episodes for violating our dangerous false or dangerous deceptive medical information policies within our Platform Rules.”) 

Apparently, a Spotify rep insists that Rogan and Kennedy didn’t violate those policies because while the two mused about vaccines causing autism, killing people, and just generally not working as intended, they didn’t, as Merlan writes, “explicitly say they were ‘designed'” to do those things. And that, I guess, is completely acceptable and worth $200 million and access to a massive platform.

(featured image: screencap)


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article Black Creatives Sign Open Letter in Solidarity With ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Actress Francesca Amewudah-Rivers
Tom Holland and Francesca Amewudah-Rivers in red for Romeo and Juliet
Read Article Grace Jabbari Responds to Jonathan Majors’ Sentencing in Domestic Abuse Case
Jonathan Majors leaves the Manhattan Criminal Court after his sentencing in domestic abuse case
Read Article Tilda Swinton Will Read You a Bedtime Story to Raise Money for Gaza
Tilda Swinton in close-up, looking to the side, with glitter on her face.
Read Article Louisiana Bill Would Sentence Librarians to Hard Labor for Joining ALA
Locked cell in front of a bookshelf. (Image: Alyssa Shotwell.)
Read Article Right-Wing Activist Charlie Kirk Demonstrates the MAGA Attack on Birth Control Is Real
Charlie Kirk speaking at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum in 2018
Related Content
Read Article Black Creatives Sign Open Letter in Solidarity With ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Actress Francesca Amewudah-Rivers
Tom Holland and Francesca Amewudah-Rivers in red for Romeo and Juliet
Read Article Grace Jabbari Responds to Jonathan Majors’ Sentencing in Domestic Abuse Case
Jonathan Majors leaves the Manhattan Criminal Court after his sentencing in domestic abuse case
Read Article Tilda Swinton Will Read You a Bedtime Story to Raise Money for Gaza
Tilda Swinton in close-up, looking to the side, with glitter on her face.
Read Article Louisiana Bill Would Sentence Librarians to Hard Labor for Joining ALA
Locked cell in front of a bookshelf. (Image: Alyssa Shotwell.)
Read Article Right-Wing Activist Charlie Kirk Demonstrates the MAGA Attack on Birth Control Is Real
Charlie Kirk speaking at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum in 2018
Author
Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.