Spotify signed a massive contract to become the exclusive home of Joe Rogan's podcast, but now the streaming service is quietly removing some of his controversial episodes. According to a report by The Wrap, 42 episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience have now been deleted from Spotify's archive without comment. The most recent purge came on Tuesday when episodes No. 411 and No. 149 were removed.
Spotify has not explained why it has removed certain episodes of Rogan's podcast, though naturally, fans have theories. Episode No. 411 featured Dave Asprey as a guest — the founder of the Bulletproof Coffee company. A report by Digital Music News notes that "Asprey frequently backs controversial anti-aging and scientific theories, including claims that Bulletproof Coffee is extremely healthy while other coffee brands are not." Therefore, Spotify could be avoiding liability for those claims, though it has not addressed this theory.
The other episode deleted on Tuesday featured several comedians speaking in front of a live audience, recorded at The Ice House in Pasadena, California in 2011. It featured Al Madrigal, Brian Redban and Felicia Michaels. The Wrap reached out to Spotify for an explanation of the removals, but the company has not gotten back to them or other reporters at the time of this writing.
In the grand scheme of things, removing 42 of Rogan's 1,631 podcast episodes is a drop in the bucket. However, it leaves some fans feeling cheated, and gives others the impression that Rogan's most controversial moments are being swept under the rug. In addition to three episodes featuring Asprey — including one where he claimed that his coffee will ensure that he lives to the age of 180 years old — the platform has taken down four episodes that featured comedian Chris D'Elia. D'Elia has been accused of statutory rape and other forms of sexual misconduct over the last year.
Other guests from deleted episodes included Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, comedian Eddie Bravo, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and far-right political commentator Milo Yiannopoulos. Rogan himself mentioned these deletions casually in a February episode of his podcast, saying "There were a few episodes they [Spotify] didn't want on their platform, and I was like 'okay, I don't care.'"
Spotify reportedly paid $100 million to become the exclusive streaming home of Rogan's podcast, which has a huge following. The comedian continues to upload multiple episodes per week.